IRVING, Texas --As Nick pointed out, cornerback Terence Newman's salary cap money comes off the books this weekend as a "post-June 1" cut, which will help the Cowboys sign their entire draft class in the coming weeks.
But money wasn't the only reason the Cowboys signed Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50 million deal to replace Newman. Performance was another.
So was durability.
Newman appeared in every game during his first four seasons but started having injury problems in 2007 at age 28. He missed nine games from 2007-08, then played full seasons from 2009-10. But a rib injury bothered him for a long stretch in 2010, and he also missed the first two games of 2011 with a groin tear and later claimed a hamstring injury limited him late in the year.
Carr, too, has opened his career with 64 consecutive starts. Having just turned 26, the Cowboys are getting a player who's eight years younger. It's a matter of upside; they hope he will remain healthy and become even more productive than during his time with the Chiefs. (Still, protection against corner injuries is among the reasons for keeping Mike Jenkins around.)
"I knew he was great, but the guy is special," defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said of Carr. "Just because he shuts down everybody. He can cover anybody. He's got long arms, great length, and he's a great person who works his tail off. He takes coaching, and I'm really impressed with him."