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Cowboys 2012 Free Agency: Does Brandon Carr Change Cowboys Draft Strategy?

There is nothing like that new car Carr smell. The Dallas Cowboys landed a marquee cornerback today in Brandon Carr. Signing a starting cornerback was the priority for the front office ever since the 2011 season ended. The secondary was an issue the entire 2010 season and the issue popped back up again towards the end of last year. I was very concerned that they could have struck out in free agency, thus leaving the Cowboys scrambling to fill in holes during the draft.

Related: Dallas Cowboys Sign Cornerback Brandon Carr

Carr should be the Cowboys #1 cornerback on the depth chart when training camp starts. They didn't go out and spend $50.1 million dollars for anything less than that. Today was a huge win for Jerry Jones after the NFL came down hard on the Cowboys for the way they handled their 2010 salary cap situation.

The Cowboys didn't fold, and I have to admire that about Jones. Even though he was hit with a $10 million dollar fine the day before free agency started, he didn't back down from getting his top target. We can debate about his role as a general manager, but as an owner, he is one of the best in sports. When he wants a player bad enough, he makes sure he gets a deal done with them before they leave Dallas. This was a great start to the ongoing rebuilding of our football team.

Does Carr change the Cowboys draft strategy? Take the jump to find out...

Mike Jenkins Will Be A Free Agent In 2013

Cornerback Mike Jenkins is only under contract for 2012. He will become an unrestricted free agent in 2013, possibly putting the Cowboys in a difficult situation. If the team is thinking for the future, it may begin to evaluate if they can re-sign Jenkins before he hits the market. Drafting another cornerback in the first round would give the team leverage heading into 2013. It would also make sense financially to draft a cornerback in the first or second round over giving Jenkins a big payday.

Jenkins' career so far has had its ups and downs, but when he is healthy, Jenkins is a top notch cornerback. If he has a great season in his contract year, he could receive an extension during the season. The idea of drafting another cornerback high is still not a bad idea, it will give the Cowboys a backup plan. Orlando Scandrick still has to prove that he is worthy of the extension he received last August. Adding another talented corner to the roster would provide competition and push both players to succeed at the highest level.

Are The Cowboys Set At Cornerback?

Not necessarily folks, just because we signed Carr it doesn't mean we are done upgrading the cornerback position. The Cowboys hold two top fifty picks in this April's draft. It does take some of the pressure off the franchise to find a starting cornerback now that they have Carr, but they still could look to add more depth at corner.

In today's NFL, the passing game has evolved to the point where you need three cornerbacks to win games. We have Brandon Carr, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick on the roster now. Mario Butler spent the entire year on the practice squad last year, so he may be an option for the #4 role. In my opinion, Alan Ball should not be re-signed. He has been here five years and never developed into a quality player. If the Cowboys do retain him, he should be used primarily on special teams.

With the 14th overall pick, the Cowboys now have options. They could opt to take the best available player on the board. Whether that is a linebacker, pass rusher, offensive lineman or cornerback, that will be determined by how the first thirteen picks go. Had the Cowboys not signed Carr, they probably would have had to reach for a cornerback.

Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick could fall to the Cowboys at 14. If he is the best available player on their board, they should draft him. That would give the Cowboys four really good cornerbacks. It would allow defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to be more aggressive in his blitz calling because the secondary could finally hold up in coverage for longer amounts of time. I have no problem drafting a cornerback in the first round even after the Carr signing.

The second round may also offer the Cowboys a great value on the position. This is one of the deepest cornerback drafts I have seen in a while, so there will be good talent available after the first round. The position has been a problem in Dallas for a while, so stacking up cornerback talent should not be an issue. I would rather see the Cowboys have a logjam before a lack of talent at cornerback.

Trading Up

One of my fellow front page writers, OCC, brought up an interesting idea today. What happens if LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne falls in the draft? Would the Cowboys be willing to deal up for him? I think it is a real possibility if he does indeed fall out of the top five. It all depends on what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do with the 5th overall pick. They signed cornerback Eric Wright today, but Aqib Talib faces a possible suspension from the NFL. The St. Louis Rams hold the #6 pick, and have been rumored to be willing to trade down again.

If Claiborne falls to the Rams, it wouldn't shock me to see Jerry pick up the phone and offer them a deal. Last year he did not conduct a single trade in the war room, and it must have driven him insane not being able to make a trade. If the right opportunity presents itself this year, he may have to pull the trigger. The new rookie wage scale doesn't make trading up as risky as it used to be. After a great start to free agency, the Cowboys are setting themselves up to be in a great position in the draft.


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