With the NFL offseason now officially underway, it's never too early to start focusing on the next order of business, which is free agency. The Cowboys have 20 unrestricted free agents who can sign with other teams starting on March 9, unless they strike a new deal with the Cowboys before then.
Over the next two weeks, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will break down each free agent, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses and the possibilities of a return in 2017.
Today, we'll continue the series with cornerback Brandon Carr.
What's The Deal: Signed to a $50.1 million free-agent contract in 2012, Carr has started all 67 games with the Cowboys over the last five seasons (playoffs included). He took a pay cut last summer to remain in Dallas for the final season of that five-year deal and responded with one of the best seasons in his Cowboys tenure. His stat totals, according to NFL.com: 315 tackles, 45 passes defensed and seven interceptions.
Cowboys Highlight: Carr has two interception returns for touchdowns in a pair of Cowboys victories (2012 at Philadelphia, 2013 vs. the New York Giants) and in 2012 he picked off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in overtime to set up the winning field goal. He also had a terrific stretch this past December covering New York's Odell Beckham Jr. and Tampa Bay's Mike Evans and helping the Cowboys' defense limit Detroit's Golden Tate to six catches for 58 yards.
Argument To Keep: Carr has taken criticism outside the organization for his takeaway total throughout his five seasons in Dallas, but he's durable, solid player at a premium position. The 2016 season was arguably his best as a Cowboy, and the club has depth questions in the secondary this offseason with fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne and safety Barry Church also set to be unrestricted free agents.
Argument To Let Go: The Cowboys have 20 free agents on their roster without a lot of salary cap space. Might Carr command more money on the open market than Dallas can offer? That could be the issue regarding Carr and a few other Cowboys free agents to be.
Bryan Broaddus' Scout's Take: Played some of his best football when moved from the left corner to the right. Appeared to see the ball better which put him in position to make more plays. Still doesn't have the foot speed or quickness but has learned to work around that. Felt like he improved his physical toughness since Rod Marinelli took over the defense. Is not going to make you think of Charles Woodson but you saw him forcing the play which resulted in more tackles. Range has always been good down the field. Has a sense of how to play the ball. Timing is his best trait. Knows how to tie a receiver up and extend his hand just at the right time. Despite his build, he shows surprising upper body strength. He can hold a receiver along the line when playing press coverage. Is a model of consistency – doesn't miss practices or games. Could see him taking a less money from the Cowboys, who have already paid him well but that could be a gamble.