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Cowboys Cornerbacks: Issues Range From Salary Cap To Injury To... Size?

What to do about the cornerback position is high on the Cowboys offseason list.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, my esteemed colleague on the front page, Dawn Macelli, took a look at potential cornerbacks in the 2015 draft, and for good reason. (See her draft profiles here and here). The Cowboys have some issues to address with that position group, starting with the bloated contract of Brandon Carr. Just how bloated is it?

Cornerback Brandon Carr carries a $12.717 million cap charge and is scheduled to make an $8 million base salary. Only Darrelle Revis ($25 million) and Patrick Peterson ($14.791 million) have higher salary-cap figures than Carr among cornerbacks.

I can assure you, Carr is not playing anything like Revis or Peterson. In fact, his play has been so spotty that it is generally assumed that he will either have to take a pay cut or the Cowboys will release him.

The Cowboys will offer Carr a chance to stay at a cheaper rate, like they did with right tackle Doug Free in 2013, or cut him altogether. Making Carr a post-June 1 cut saves the Cowboys $8 million against the cap in 2015, but he would count $7.434 million against the 2016 cap.

But Carr is not the only issue back there. First-round pick Morris Claiborne has largely been a bust so far, and the timing on his return from his ruptured patella tendon is in question. Todd Archer on Claiborne's return:

From what I've been able to gather, you won't see him on the field in the offseason program and he might not be ready for the early part of training camp. It's more complicated than a comeback from, say, a torn anterior cruciate ligament. There is a lot of stress on the tendon because of the nature of the position. Time is the best healer, but building up strength is a must too.

So depending on what happens with Carr, and how Claiborne progresses, the Cowboys could be very thin at the position. Taking a cornerback or two in the draft isn't far-fetched.

Meanwhile, Rick Gosselin brings up this interesting point. The Seahawks defense is partly so good because it has big corners. Guys who can jam receivers at the line and get physical. Ex-Seahawk Brandon Browner's contribution on the famous Patriots Super Bowl interception is also cited. His physical ability to hold up Jermaine Kearse on the play allowed Malcolm Butler a free run at the slant pattern. Kearse was supposed to pick Butler but he never got there as Browner essentially held him in place at the line.

So Gosselin surmises that the Cowboys need to get bigger at corner.

The elite big corner in the 2015 NFL draft is Michigan State’s Trae Waynes at 6-1, 180. He’ll be a first-rounder and likely be gone before the Cowboys go on the clock at 27. LSU’s Jalen Collins goes 6-2, 195. He projects as a second-round pick.

Then there’s a host of big corners who will be available in the mid-to-late rounds: Southern Cal’s Josh Shaw (6-1, 203), Oklahoma’s Julian Wilson (6-1, 199), Miami’s Ladarius Gunter (6-1, 200), Utah’s Eric Rowe (6-1, 204) and Central Florida’s Jacoby Glenn (6-1, 180).

Don’t scoff at the round. Speed at every position historically goes high in drafts. So the 5-10 and 5-11 corners who run in the 4.3s and 4.4s come off the board quickly. That leaves the bigger corners who run in the 4.5s and 4.6s for the discerning drafters like Carroll. Sherman ran in the mid-4.55s at his combine, so he slid to the fifth round where the Seahawks nabbed him. Chancellor and Simon also were fifth-round picks, Maxwell a sixth and Browner wasn’t even drafted.

He goes on to note that the Cowboys corners are small in comparison. I'm not sure I buy this theory just because the Seahawks have made it work. But, you might be able to get some good talent later in the draft based on this theory.

So what's your take BTB? Should the Cowboys make Carr take a pay cut or release him? Is Claiborne going to turn it around? And should the Cowboys be looking at bigger corners?

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