Brandon Carr

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Ravens Exercise CB Brandon Carr’s Option

The Ravens are picking up cornerback Brandon Carr‘s option, a source tells Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Carr signed a four-year deal with the Ravens last offseason, but really it’s a contract with a series of options. The Ravens had the choice to hit the eject button this offseason, but declined.

Carr, 31, is now scheduled to earn a base salary of $4.5MM and a roster bonus of $1.5MM in 2018. All told, he’ll count for $7MM against the Ravens’ salary cap. Had Baltimore declined Carr’s option, it would have created $4MM in cap space.

In his first campaign with the Ravens, Carr started all 16 games for the tenth consecutive season. An extremely durable player, Carr ranked as the No. 69 cornerback among 121 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, Carr finished a respectable 34th in Football Outsiders’ success rate while posting four interceptions, the latter of which tied a career-high.

While Carr is sticking around, the Ravens have parted ways with running back Danny Woodhead and offensive tackle Austin Howard earlier today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Brady, Maclin, Bowman, Jets

Tom Brady suffered a “painful” thumb injury during a practice that took place at the beginning of the week, reports Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. According to Curran, the 40-year-old quarterback cut his thumb badly when a running back smashed it while the team was running a play at practice. However, Curran notes that Brady can throw, but doesn’t know exactly just how much it will affect the Patriots gameplan this Sunday.

As always, Curran notes that the team is not letting much information out to the press or public at this time. It’s highly unlikely that Brady will not play in the AFC Championship game, but it is a story that people should keep track of as the game time approaches over the weekend. Perhaps the biggest development that Curran has to offer is that Brady is “not taking snaps from under center”.

The team has listed Brady as questionable on the most recent injury report, but the impact of the injury could have a major effect on Bill Belichick‘s gameplan even though nobody expects the five-time Super Bowl winner to miss such a big game.

Here are more stories coming out of the AFC:

  • The Ravens have a few players that could be cut in order to create some more cap space for potential offseason moves. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun listed some of the veterans that could be on their way out. These names included: Lardarius Webb, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Carr, Austin Howard, Breshad Perriman and Albert McClellan. However, the most interesting player on his list could be wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. The Ravens thought Maclin would be a key addition after he has cut by the Chiefs last offseason, but it was mostly a pedestrian year for 29-year-old pass catcher. Baltimore needs a makeover at the receiver position and could make room for new targets for Joe Flacco by cutting Maclin and letting the likes of Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro walk in free agency.
  • While the addition of NaVorro Bowman could not stop the bleeding of a disappointing 2017 Raiders season, that doesn’t necessarily mean that new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther doesn’t want the veteran linebacker back in the fold in 2018, reports Scott Bair of NBC Sports“NaVorro is a prototype middle linebacker, really,” said Guenther. “The thing that impressed me most with NaVorro is that they got him here midseason and by the end of the year, it appeared to me that he was kind of the leader of the unit, making a lot of calls. You can see that on tape. It looks like he is a smart guy that understands the game. I love smart guys that love playing football. Hopefully we can get him back in the fold and keep him a Raider.”
  • Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson was arrested on a number of charges earlier this morning. Connor Hughes of NJ.com has more details about what occurred to bring this type of discipline. According to a police report that NJ.com obtained, Hughes reports that Anderson”rapidly accelerated” past cops at 105 mph after he saw them on the side of the road. As the cops followed behind Anderson, the report states that Anderson was “all over the road”, and seemingly “failed to maintain a single lane on numerous occasions.” Anderson did eventually stop the car and was arrested, but not until make a number of threats to the police officer’s wife. These details spell more bad news for Anderson who already was arrested back in May while he was at a festival in Miami. The wideout may face discipline from the NFL, but the league still must do their due diligence investigating the incidents until any punishments will be handed down to the 24-year-old.

AFC North Notes: Shazier, Britt, McCarron

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Shazier continues to show gradual improvement, though he remains hospitalized. Per Schefter, doctors are controlling and limiting Shazier’s movement as they wait for the swelling and bruising in his back to subside, and it is of course too soon to determine if he will be able to play again. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports adds that Shazier is expected to remain in the hospital for a few more days, but that his prognosis is “optimistic.”

Now let’s take a swing around the rest of the AFC North:

  • Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun writes that, before Jimmy Smith‘s season-ending Achilles tear last week, there was talk that the Ravens could release Brandon Carr to create cap space and rely on Smith and the team’s cadre of young and talented corners. Zrebiec, though, thought that was a bad idea before the Smith injury, and he believes it’s even worse now. Carr has played reasonably well, and Smith’s latest injury is just further proof that Baltimore cannot count on him for a full season (he may not even be ready for the start of 2018). Zrebiec thinks the Ravens should not only retain Carr, but they should also continue to bolster their CB corps.
  • It does not sound as if the Browns will face any discipline for their alleged violation of the Rooney Rule in their hiring of John Dorsey. La Canfora reports that he spoke last night with John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, and Wooten indicated that his concerns with Cleveland’s GM search have been addressed. Wooten added that he has no issue with the hiring of the highly-qualified Dorsey (Twitter links).
  • The waiver period for claiming the contract of former Browns wide receiver Kenny Britt ends tomorrow at 4pm, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes. While Cleveland would love for someone to claim Britt off waivers, thereby absolving the Browns of the balance of his salary, that seems unlikely at this point. Florio writes that Britt wants to sign with a playoff contender if he clears waivers, and that the Patriots could be a team to watch in that scenario.
  • A ruling on A.J. McCarron‘s grievance will be made in February, as La Canfora reports. The Bengals‘ backup QB has argued that he should be an unrestricted free agent when the 2018 league year opens, while the league feels he should be a restricted free agent. In any event, the matter will be resolved before free agency gets underway.

Contract Details: Foles, Carr, Poe, Cowboys

Here’s a fun fact from Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter links): Of the 155 free-agent contracts that have been filed since March 9, only 23 have more than $3MM fully guaranteed in post-2017 money. In essence, that means 85.2% of the contracts done over the last ten days are one-year deals with team options.

Now for the latest contract details:

  • Cornerback Brandon Carr‘s four-year, $23MM Ravens contract comes with $6MM in 2017 – most of which is by way of a $4MM signing bonus – and then the Ravens will have a 2018 team option, reports Breer (on Twitter).
  • Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe‘s one-year, $8MM accord features a $500K signing bonus and incentives for playing time, sacks and a Pro Bowl appearance (Twitter link via Breer).
  • Quarterback Nick Folespreviously reported two-year, $11MM deal with the Eagles is actually a five-year, $27.5MM pact, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. However, the final three years of the contract will void if Foles is still on Philadelphia’s roster 23 days before the start of the 2019 league year. The arrangement comes with $5MM in incentives and an esclator for 2018 worth as much as $6MM (Twitter links).
  • Panthers defensive tackle Kyle Love‘s two-year contract is worth $2.2MM and features a few bonuses – $200K for signing, $25K for workouts and $10K per game active – as well as $500K in annual incentives, tweets Wilson.
  • Cowboys running back Darren McFadden‘s one-year contract is a minimum salary benefit deal worth $980K (a salary of $900K and an $80K signing bonus). Guard Jonathan Cooper‘s single-year accord is worth $2MM and has a $31,250 bonus per game active, $500K in incentives and a $100K workout base de-esclator (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Cardinals running back/wide receiver Andre Ellington will earn a $775K base salary on his one-year agreement, tweets Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910.
  • Redskins defensive tackle Ziggy Hood’s two-year, $2.7MM deal includes a $300K signing bonus, per-game active bonuses of $15,625 each, $600K in incentives and a $600K escalator. Meanwhile, the Redskins gave linebacker Chris Carter a minimum salary benefit deal worth $855K, including $775K in salary and a signing bonus of $80K, relays Wilson (Twitter links).
  • Saints running back Travaris Cadet also got a minimum salary benefit contract for 2017, says Wilson (Twitter link). It’s worth $855K ($775K in salary and an $80K signing bonus).

Zach Links contributed to this post.