The Top 10 Free Agent Upgrades of 2012
2) Dallas Cowboys
FROM: Terence Newman (CB)
TO: Brandon Carr
There are smaller corners in the NFL. There are slower corners in the NFL. But if you’re smaller AND slower at corner, the NFL stands for Not For Long. Thus, the fate of the Cowboys’ Terence Newman was sealed. His quicks sapped by injury and age, Newman was left bleeding in the water and NFL coordinators, QBs and wideouts swarmed him like tiger fish in a River Monsters episode. (On a side note – take a moment and check out these bastards. They’re 8x the size of piranhas, they hunt in packs and could devour a Honey Badger in a trice. Hey, Internet – you want to make Africa a safer place? Forget Joseph Kony and organize a campaign to wipe out these things immediately.)
FootballOutsiders.com had a great piece on the league’s worst-performing corners of 2011, and Newman was one of only three guys (Josh Gordy and E.J. Biggers were the other offenders) to rank in the bottom 10 on each of the article’s three metrics (Yards/Pass, Success Rate and YAC Allowed). But at least the Cowboys had SOME company in being let down by highly-paid veteran corners, right?
Player Team 2011 Cap Figure
Josh Gordy St. Louis $490,000
E.J. Biggers Tampa Bay $580,000
Terence Newman Dallas $8,000,000
In fairness to Jerry, you’d have needed a goddamn crystal ball to foresee the fact that handing a six year, $50 million contract to a 30-year old defensive free agent at the league’s most speed-oriented position wouldn’t work out for the best. But what’s done is done, and with Newman’s release all that decision really cost Dallas was $29 million, an additional $6 million in remaining dead money and a 2011 playoff berth, which Newman basically handed to the Giants on a silver platter.
But why dwell on the past? The future of the position looks much brighter in Dallas thanks to the ‘Boys landing their #1 free agent target in former Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr. Carr’s rise over the last few seasons basically looks like an inverse of Newman’s decline, capping off his final season in KC as one of the league’s top corners. Carr allowed a meager 61.7 Passer Rating on balls thrown his way last season, which was 9th in the league among corners with at least 500 snaps. He’s got the size (6’0") and the youth (26 at the start of the 2012 season) that you covet, and uses his long arms and above-average quickness to effectively pester receivers and disrupt routes. He’s not a premier ballhawk, but he did notch a career-high four picks last year and should get some chances if the Dallas pass rush can emulate its disruptive ways from the first half of 2011 as opposed to its flaccid second-half showing. Carr and fellow addition Brodney Pool may have a smidge less aggregate talent than the Jonathan Joseph/Danieal Manning infusion that the Houston secondary received last season, but if they can have anywhere close to the impact of the Texans’ pair then the Cowboys could be well-positioned to grab the NFC East crown in 2012.