Brandon Carr

Cowboys Release DB Brandon Carr

Brandon Carr‘s second act with the Cowboys will end early in the season. The team released the 13th-year veteran defensive back Tuesday.

The Cowboys brought Carr back just before the season, stashing him on their practice squad before promoting him ahead of Week 1. Carr, however, did not see much playing time. Dressing for three games, the iron-man defender played just 21 defensive snaps — despite Dallas being shorthanded in its secondary.

The Ravens did not pick up Carr’s 2020 option, sending him to free agency. The past three 2020 games marked the first time the former 2008 draftee did not start an NFL game, ending a 192-game start streak. Said streak included 80 games with the Cowboys, who signed Carr to a five-year deal in 2012 and watched him play out the contract before signing with the Ravens in 2017.

Additionally, the Cowboys waived tackle Alex Light, signed tackle Greg Senat off the Browns’ practice squad and added tackle William Sweet to their taxi squad.

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Cowboys Promote Brandon Carr From Practice Squad

Brandon Carr‘s unusual status on a practice squad changed Saturday. The Cowboys will promote him in advance of their Week 1 game against the Rams, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

The Cowboys brought back their former five-year cornerback starter days ago and will make him part of their 55-man game-day roster. The 2020 CBA allows for two practice squad players to be promoted to the active roster without a corresponding roster move each week. Teams can have 48 players active on game days this season, up from 46.

Carr will rejoin a Cowboys roster that lost its top corner from the past two seasons — Byron Jones — but the 12-year veteran may well see his 12-year start streak snapped. Since being selected in the fifth round in 2008, Carr has started all 192 games in which he has played for the Chiefs, Cowboys and Ravens.

The Ravens did not pick up Carr’s 2020 option, sending the iron-man defender back to free agency. Carr could fill multiple roles for Dallas. He saw time at safety with Baltimore last season. The Cowboys released Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last week, leaving their safety position again uncertain going into a season.

Dallas drafted corners Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson — in the second and fourth rounds, respectively — and signed Daryl Worley to help fill the void Jones’ free agency departure created. The team returns both Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown, who re-signed in March. However, Lewis will miss Week 1 with an ankle injury.

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Cowboys To Sign Brandon Carr To Practice Squad

Brandon Carr is coming back to the Cowboys. However, he will do so in an unusual way. The 12-year veteran agreed to join Dallas’ practice squad, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

As recently as a few years ago, he would not have been eligible to do so. But the NFL has loosened the practice squad eligibility requirements, and in this COVID-19-altered landscape, more veterans are allowed on taxi squads. Carr will bring a preposterous 192 career starts to the Cowboys’ practice squad.

Carr, who started every game for Dallas from 2012-16, visited the Cowboys earlier this week. The Ravens made him a free agent by not picking up his 2020 option.

Teams are allowed to carry up to six veterans with unlimited experience onto their P-squads this year. Carr will obviously be the most experienced of Dallas’ practice squad players. Here are the rest of the players on that unit, as of Sunday afternoon:

Cowboys Host Brandon Carr On Visit

The Cowboys are checking in on an old friend. They brought in veteran cornerback Brandon Carr for a visit Friday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

A Cowboys starter from 2012-16, Carr spent the past three seasons with the Ravens. Despite Baltimore’s deep cornerback group, Carr continued his start streak — one that now sits at 192 games. Baltimore declined Carr’s 2020 option.

Dallas lost Byron Jones but still has contract-year corners Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie. The team also used second- and fourth-round picks on corners — Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson — and signed Daryl Worley. Slot corner Anthony Brown is also back in the fold, following a new deal in free agency.

Carr, 34, has also seen time at safety. The Ravens used him there at points last season, and the Cowboys have a sudden need after making Ha Ha Clinton-Dix a surprise cut. Carr’s ex-teammate, Earl Thomas, has not been connected to the Cowboys in several days.

Carr certainly brings more experience than any current Cowboys defender — and just about any active NFL DB — and is among the most reliable players of his generation, availability-wise.

Pro Football Focus has viewed Carr’s work as average to slightly above average in recent years, but he still played 76% of the snaps for a strong Ravens defense last season. With the Cowboys, Carr lived up to his iron-man reputation. He never played fewer than 94% of Dallas’ defensive snaps in any of his six seasons with the team.

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Ravens Expected To Decline CB Brandon Carr’s Option

Yet another cornerback is going to hit the open market. The Ravens are expected to decline Brandon Carr’s option and send him to free agency, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

We had heard the Ravens were unlikely to retain Carr if they brought back fellow corner Jimmy Smith, and now it sounds like Carr will be moving on even if Smith isn’t back. Carr will turn 34 in May, but he started all 16 games for Baltimore this past season. Carr has been remarkably durable, never missing a game or start in his 12-year career. Originally a fifth-round pick out of tiny D2 school Grand Valley State back in 2008, Carr has carved out quite the career for himself.

He’s never been elite or made the Pro Bowl, but has been a solid starter for many years. He spent the first four years of his career with the Chiefs and then five with the Cowboys, before signing a four-year, $23.5MM pact with the Ravens in 2017. With Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, who they acquired in a trade last season, both under contract, Carr became more expendable.

His playing time was reduced after the Peters trade, and it’s clear the Ravens want to get younger at the position. Humphrey is 23 and Peters is 27. All eyes will now turn to Smith, and the last we heard is that he’s planning on testing the open market while the two sides are both still interested in a potential reunion.

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AFC Notes: Ravens, Brady, Mosley

We heard at the end of December that the Ravens are prepared to slap pass rusher Matt Judon with the franchise tag if they cannot work out a long-term deal with him, but recent comments from head coach John Harbaugh suggested Judon could be suiting up elsewhere in 2020. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Baltimore may be disinclined to use the tag, as it would take up a big chunk of their cap and could alienate the emotional and outspoken Judon.

On the other hand, Judon is the only proven pass rusher on the team, and there’s no guarantee the Ravens can win a bidding war for one of this year’s top FAs or land a player at the bottom of the first round of the draft who can make an immediate impact, so GM Eric DeCosta will have to carefully weigh a number of factors.

Let’s round up a few other AFC items, starting with several more nuggets out of Baltimore:

  • The Ravens and veteran CB Jimmy Smith have mutual interest in a reunion, per Zrebiec. However, if Baltimore brings back Smith, it’s unlikely that CB/S Brandon Carr also returns. Meanwhile, the Ravens will almost certainly cut safety Tony Jefferson.
  • Regardless of what they do with Judon, the Ravens will have to add three or four starting-caliber players to their front seven, so Zrebiec expects the team to focus on those areas heavily in the draft, and he fully expects DeCosta to draft a WR or two.
  • Add Jay Glazer of The Athletic to the list of pundits who believe a Tom BradyRaiders partnership makes sense. Like others, Glazer thinks the Chargers are an obvious non-Patriots landing spot, but given the international presence that the Las Vegas outfit is expected to have, both Brady and the team would stand to benefit from a Sin City marriage.
  • In a recent interview with Eddie Paskal of the team’s official website, Raiders GM Mike Mayock said he believes the move to Las Vegas will help the club attract top free agents, even those not named Brady. The fact that Nevada does not have a state income tax will obviously be appealing, as will the sleek new stadium and the general excitement surrounding the franchise. Mayock also noted that he will look to add wide receiver help this offseason.
  • Jets LB C.J. Mosley had to undergo groin/abdominal surgery about six weeks ago, but he expects to be ready for the team’s offseason program this spring, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. One of last year’s biggest free agent fish, Mosley played in just two games for Gang Green, and he has started a vegan diet in the hopes of giving himself an edge.

Ravens Notes: Carr, Skura, Pierce

Here’s a look at the Ravens as they get set for the offseason ahead:

  • Ravens defensive back Brandon Carr told reporters that the “ball is in [the Ravens’] court” when asked about his future (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley). Carr, 34 in May, is under contact for 2020, but the Ravens can create $6MM by releasing him. For his part, Carr wants to return – he called the 2019 season one of the “best rides” of his 12-year career. Carr has not missed a single game since 2008 and has started in every appearance. The durable veteran finished out 2019 with two sacks, 49 tackles, and six passes defensed.
  • Ravens center Matt Skura, who is on crutches after knee surgery, said there is no timetable on his return (Twitter link via Hensley). After tearing his his ACL, PCL and MCL, he hopes to be back for training camp.
  • Interior defensive lineman Michael Pierce is headed towards unrestricted free agency, but he hopes to return to the Ravens in 2020 (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic). Pierce, 27, is due for a raise after starting in 14 games for Baltimore in 2019.

Ravens Exercise Brandon Carr’s Option

The Ravens have exercised cornerback Brandon Carr‘s 2019 option, per ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). 2019 will be the third year in Baltimore for the remarkably durable Carr, who has never missed a game or a start in his 11-year career.

Carr signed what was officially a four-year pact with the Ravens in March 2017, but it was really a one-year deal with a series of options. He has been rumored as a cap casualty to some degree in each of the past two offseasons, but his overall solid play and durability have made him quite valuable to Baltimore’s secondary.

He is by no means a superstar, but he graded out as an above average corner in 2018 per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, and he has secured six interceptions over the past two seasons. He serves as a strong complement to Jimmy Smith and rising star Marlon Humphrey.

Smith has been rumored as a cap casualty himself, but given the way the Ravens’ secondary has been depleted by injury prior in recent years (2018 excluded), it would be somewhat surprising if he were released, though he may be asked to take a pay cut. Carr, Smith, and Humphrey form one of the best CB trios in football, and rumor has it that they may soon be joined by a big-name safety like Tyrann Mathieu.

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AFC North Notes: Brown, Ravens, Johnson

The Steelers‘ plan remains to trade Antonio Brown. But Kevin Colbert reiterated they will not pull the trigger if they do not believe the compensation is appropriate.

We will only make a trade if it benefits the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Colbert said, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. “He knows that. His representation knows that. That’s been clearly explained, and we’re willing to take a look. If there’s something that can be done to benefit both sides, great. If not, then we’ll deal with that when we get to it.”

Pittsburgh still wants to trade Brown to the NFC, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets the organization is prioritizing compensation over a preferred destination. Colbert said an intra-division trade is not ideal but did not put the Bengals, Browns or Ravens as non-starter suitors, saying “we haven’t eliminated anybody” from the trade picture. Colbert added more teams have reached out, which makes sense with all 32 teams in Indianapolis for the Combine. The Steelers would seemingly prefer to deal Brown before March 17, when his $2.5MM bonus is due, but Colbert said (via Pro Football Talk, on Twitter) the team is open to paying him the bonus and trading him later.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • New Ravens GM Eric DeCosta has said the team wants C.J. Mosley back, and a report indicated they also want to re-sign Terrell Suggs for a 17th season. DeCosta on Wednesday said he expects Brandon Carr to stay put. However, the new front office boss was not as certain on Jimmy Smith and Eric Weddle joining Carr in the 2019 Baltimore secondary, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic tweets. Carr, who will be 33 in May, is due $7MM. Weddle, 34, has one season left on his four-year deal. It would save the Ravens $7.5MM by cutting him. After indicating he would want to retire if the Ravens didn’t want him back, Weddle recently changed his tune. Smith is just 30, and a release would cost the Ravens more than $6MM. But they could save $9MM-plus by making him a cap casualty. Baltimore currently holds barely $20MM in cap space.
  • With Kareem Hunt now in the fold, the Browns‘ backfield is crowded. Nick Chubb will likely be the Cleveland starter for much of this season, with Hunt in line for a suspension that could comprise more than half of the 2019 season. Duke Johnson remains, too, and although he has done his best work in the passing game, Freddie Kitchens said (via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, on Twitter) the team is not planning to move its passing-down back to wide receiver.
  • The Bengals refuted a report that they are trying to deal 2017 first-rounder John Ross.

Extra Points: Bell, Gregory, Raiders, Carr

With just less than four weeks remaining until the trade deadline, Le’Veon Bell-to-the-Eagles has surfaced on the rumor circuit. The Eagles are reportedly giving serious consideration to making a run at the likely rental running back. But SI.com’s Albert Breer isn’t so sure that’s going to happen. The Eagles don’t see running back as a spot to sink major resources into, per Breer. Bell’s approximately $10MM salary would qualify as a major investment, although that’s dropping by the week because of this unusual holdout. Philadelphia has just less than $5MM in cap room, and Breer notes the improving health of its running backs should help them steer clear of these interesting Bell sweepstakes. Corey Clement and Darren Sproles have yet to return to practice, and Jay Ajayi is playing with a back fracture. The Eagles traded a fourth-rounder for Ajayi before the 2017 trade deadline. Bell as of now plans to report to the Steelers during their Week 7 bye.

Here’s the latest from around the league as Week 5’s first game continues:

  • Randy Gregory‘s reinstatement conditions caused him to miss the Cowboys‘ Thursday practice. The defensive end was in Chicago meeting with medical director of the NFL’s substance-abuse program, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter). He most recently attended this type of summit during the preseason. The NFL reinstated Gregory this summer after his extensive substance-abuse-induced hiatus. His status for Week 5 doesn’t appear to be in question. Gregory’s played 64 snaps this season.
  • Jimmy Smith‘s return to action this week doesn’t appear to mean Brandon Carr will be bumped from first-string duties. The 11th-year cornerback has started 164 straight games (and every game he’s played as an NFLer), and Ravens DC Wink Martindale doesn’t plan on stopping that run, Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com notes. Smith is eligible to return after a four-game suspension. Carr, Marlon Humphrey and slot man Tavon Young have worked as Baltimore’s top three corners this season. Smith was thriving prior to his season-ending injury last year, so it should be expected he’ll play a big role soon, even if he doesn’t start immediately. Carr’s 164-game start streak resides as the longest among defensive players by 28 games.
  • While Jon Gruden wanted to take Derwin James in the first round, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes (subscription required) the Raiders weren’t doing anything except taking a tackle in Round 1. However, if Kolton Miller was gone at No. 15 — where the Raiders dropped to after dealing the No. 10 selection to the Cardinals — Tafur notes they were going to take James or trade down further.
  • The Dolphins were projected to be among the teams examining the crop of potential first-round quarterbacks, but their 3-1 start could change that. Early in the mock process, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has the Dolphins taking Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen, a player whom multiple area scouts have rising into the first round after a strong start to the season. As for where Miller projects the QBs to fall in Round 1, he has the Giants taking Oregon’s Justin Herbert and No. 5, the Patriots grabbing Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham at No. 17 (though, that draft slot seems certain to drop) and the Bengals selecting Missouri’s Drew Lock at 28.