Dallas’ secondary has been an area of concern to Cowboys fans for several seasons now, so it was not a surprise that they decided to address this in free agency. After Cortland Finnegan signed up to play for his former coach, Jeff Fisher, in St Louis, Brandon Carr was clearly the top left cornerback on the market. Jerry Jones was more than willing to open his wallet and the result was a five-year $50.1m contract to make the former Chiefs #2 corner one of the best paid players in the league at the position.
Playing in the shadows of Brandon Flowers in Kansas City has meant that Carr has not earned the plaudits he has deserved, and despite the hefty price tag, the Cowboys should have landed a top performing shutdown corner. Whereas Flowers’ gained public recognition for his outstanding play in 2010, Carr did in fact allow a lower completion percentage. Flowers’ 51.0% was not as good as Carr’s 45.5%, and made even more conclusive in the sample size as Carr was targeted more often (110 vs. 102). Cowboys fans will be pleased to know that Carr’s excellent performance continued into 2011 as he allowed only 49.4% of passes to be completed and just three touchdowns.
As a fantasy contributor Carr has yet to break into the top 30 DBs in his four year career because he hasn’t delivered the turnovers to trouble the likes of Charles Woodson or Charles Tillman. After an impressive 70 solo tackles as a rookie in 2008, his tackle production has declined each season to a low of 39 last year. However, he did record a career high of four interceptions and he continues to deflect a high number of passes which is a sign he has potential for more picks if he can put it all together. Even more encouragingly he will take over the #1 CB role for the first time in his career in Dallas, and fill the shoes of the recently released Terence Newman. Newman has twice been a CB2 (2009 and 2010) in the past four years and outscored Carr each season, apart from 2008 when he missed six games, which bodes well for Carr’s future fantasy production.
In a division with Eli Manning passing to Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, Mike Vick passing to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and now Robert Griffin III throwing at series of overpaid mistakes, Carr is sure to see plenty of targets and should post the best fantasy season of his career. I’d expect him to push for a career high in total tackles (73), but crucially it will be his big-play ability that determines his ability to become an every week fantasy starter. He’s my idea of a solid, low-end CB2, putting him in DB4 territory if you don’t discern between safeties and corners, but I very much doubt his ceiling is as high as CB1 (DB2).