FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys addressed perhaps their largest need with the addition of free agent cornerback Nolan Carroll on Friday night.
The Cowboys and Carroll agreed to terms on a three-year contract that is reportedly worth $10 million – with $4 million of that coming in the first year of the deal. The signing addresses what is widely considered the Cowboys’ biggest trouble spot during this free agency window, as both starters from last year’s team are no longer under contract.
Carroll comes to Dallas from Philadelphia, where he started 28 games over the past three seasons. He was originally selected No. 145 overall by Miami in the 2010 NFL Draft, but he signed with the Eagles in 2014.
During his time in Philly, Carrol notched 142 tackles and three interceptions over three years. He also tallied 24 total pass breakups, with 20 of those coming in 2015 and 2016. He scored the only touchdown of his career in Week 6 of 2015, when he picked off Eli Manning and returned it for a score in a win against the Giants.
The veteran corner was sent to injured reserve for the final five weeks of that season with a broken ankle.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time the Cowboys have pursued Carroll. The Jacksonville, Fla., native visited Dallas last March during the start of free agency – but he ultimately returned to Philadelphia on a one-year, $2.36 million deal.
Carroll had the best season of his career in 2016, starting all 16 games and finishing with 55 tackles, one interception and 10 pass breakups. That helps explain the pay raise in his eventual move to the Eagles’ division rival.
What this deal doesn’t explain is the future of the Cowboys’ own two cornerbacks. They found themselves in need of corners in the first place because Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are both out of contract.
It’s still early in free agency, but there has been little in the way of indication about what either cornerback might do. Each player is seeking a third contract. Carr recently finished the five-year, $50 million he signed with the Cowboys in March 2012.
Claiborne signed a one-year, $3 million deal last year, after the Cowboys declined to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.
It remains to be seen what Carroll’s deal means for Carr and Claiborne. But alongside Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown, Carroll gives the Cowboys a third corner with starting experience.