It's three weeks into free agency and the Cowboys have seemingly lost out on another free agent that they had an interest in. The latest player happens to be cornerback Patrick Robinson, a former first-rounder that has bounced around a few teams in hopes of living up to his potential. I'll be the first to admit that I really like the idea of trying to sign Robinson, but let's not go too far overboard on what he is.
After all, he played his part of one of the most atrocious defense's in NFL history. In 2012, the New Orleans Saints set a new record in futility breaking a 32-year long record set by the Colts with 7,042 yards given up. That included almost 4,700 in passing yards but was in a year where their head coach, Sean Payton, was banned from the NFL. Robinson would stick around two more seasons before he left New Orleans for San Diego. It was the Chargers who got some really good play from Robinson, he finished with his second highest in career tackles with 43 and one interception in 10 starts. Trust me, like many, I liked Robinson and thought he could carry his improvement over to Dallas, but we have to move on.
Where I don't understand the frustration is the notion that this has possibly given Brandon Carr more leverage to stay and get paid his $13 million base salary. That may be what it looks like in late March, but that certainly isn't the case. It's easy to point at his contract and feel an uneasiness in your stomach, but that was the going rate for a free agent starting cornerback in 2012. The Cowboys overpaid but there really wasn't much of a choice and they about had it with Mike Jenkins though he stuck around and started two games. So, here we are again, another offseason of talking about cutting Brandon Carr. Something I've been on board with for quite some time. However, this is different, the Cowboys still have the leverage in this ordeal and there are plenty of reasons why.
First and foremost, it's March, not June. The Cowboys could still do quite a bit between this time and June 1st. The first day in June is when the Cowboys can designate him a cut and save $9.1 million with very little repercussions in dead money. Dallas already brought back Morris Claiborne on a one-year prove-it deal. There are also two cornerbacks out on the free agent market that could be of some service to the Cowboys:
1.) Leon Hall- Though he's 31-years old, he certainly has been consistent and looks to have quite a bit still left in the tank. Cornerbacks are beginning to play a little later in their careers anyway and the Cowboys have already shown interest in the former Cincinnati Bengal. Hall had 55 tackles and two interceptions including a pick-six. He's a solid contributor that could help them in the short-term.
2.) Brandon Boykin- A former fourth-round pick for the Eagles, Boykin left for Pittsburgh last season and actually played well. Like Robinson, Boykin would be sort of a reclamation project but he has value in versatility. It seems more like the Cowboys are looking for a guy that can play both inside and out. That's the reason they liked Robinson so much. Boykin can do that for them and allow Orlando Scandrick to remain on the outside. Boykin had one interception, a forced fumble, and 25 tackles last season.
Secondly, and this may be even bigger, the Cowboys still have the draft in late April. With the fourth pick, they could choose the ever-so-versatile and highly touted Jalen Ramsey if they like. Someone that everyone here is probably tired of hearing me chant about, but it's true. Ramsey projects to be able to handle any secondary duties that would be asked of him but it doesn't end there. They could also look at potentially any of the top targets at cornerback. Vernon Hargreaves, Mackenzie Alexander, Eli Apple and William Jackson III are all great options that could come in and play a major role early.
Pop on Twitter, you see Brandon Carr helping w/ water crisis, reading to children, hospital visits. And you guys want to cut him. For shame!— Brandon George (@DMN_George) March 23, 2016
Though it's a pain to say, the Cowboys really like Brandon Carr and probably a lot more than the rest of us do. He hasn't missed a game for them though he also hasn't had a turnover in two seasons either. Sure, he's a wonderful human being and is a great locker room guy too, but what about his play on the field? It's never been about him as a person, yet folks want to make fans feel bad about wanting a solution here.
That's where that frustration gets at us because you need guys that can make plays and it seems as though Carr is alway making them for the other team. Still, Bryan Broaddus has said multiple times that Stephen Jones may just be willing to let this ride out that way next year they don't have any repercussions letting him go. Yet, make no mistake, if they want him to take a reduced salary, what choice will he really have? Especially if they draft a starting cornerback in this year's draft, he knows that not a single soul will pay him as much as the Cowboys may be willing to.
It's simply too early to tell what the Cowboys actually plan to do with Carr. If they decide to keep him, fine. However, that doesn't change the fact that they can gain the leverage necessary to ask him to play at a reduced rate. So, though we get frustrated that the Cowboys have "lost" out on a few free agents, they aren't in dire straits or anything like that. If they want to rid themselves of this, they can at any point they want to. It's a long offseason and there are still plenty of things that can happen.