After two visits elsewhere, T.J. Carrie will opt to stay in Indianapolis. The Colts are re-signing the veteran cornerback, according to the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal worth more than $2MM, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter).
Carrie, who initially signed with the Colts last year, visited the Saints and Bills over the past three weeks. Carrie’s Buffalo trip occurred this week, and Fowler adds the Bills made a push to sign Carrie. Rather than joining a fourth team, however, Carrie will follow Xavier Rhodes in re-signing with the Colts.
While Carrie played in 15 games last season, he saw a reduced snap rate. After playing more than 60% of his team’s snaps from 2017-19, the former seventh-round pick saw action on just 38% of Indianapolis’ defensive plays in 2020. The Colts stand to bring back their top four corners from last season, with Rhodes and Carrie pledging to stay on one-year accords, slot corner Kenny Moore signed long-term and Rock Ya-Sin still on his rookie deal.
Originally a Raiders draftee in 2014, Carrie spent the 2018 and ’19 seasons with the Browns. While he saw more time in Cleveland, Carrie intercepted a career-high two passes with the Colts and took one back for a touchdown. Pro Football Focus graded Carrie as a top-40 corner and was incredibly high on the seven-year vet’s run-game presence. PFF graded Carrie as the league’s top run-defending corner.
The 30-year-old defender will reprise his role in an experienced cornerback corps, though with both Carrie and Rhodes north of 30, the Colts still profile as a team that could add at this spot early in the draft.
Last year, Carrie recorded two interceptions, a fumble recovery, and two touchdowns for the Colts. His first score came off of a pick six against the Jets in Week 3. Then, against the Titans in Week 10, he found pay dirt again on a punt return. According to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus, Carrie graded out as the 37th best cornerback in the NFL with a 67.9 overall grade.
Colts cornerback T.J. Carrie is set to meet with the Saints (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of SiriusXM). The Saints have been looking for corners to support Marshon Lattimore and Carrie could fit the bill.
Carrie spent 2020 with the Colts and finished the year with two interceptions, a fumble recovery, and two touchdowns. His first TD came off of a pick six against the Jets in Week 3. Then, against the Titans in Week 10, he scored again off of a punt return.
Carrie was mostly used as a reserve last year, but he was first-string for much of his early Raiders tenure. There’s a chance that Carrie could fight his way into the starting lineup if he’s signed, though he’s more likely to fill Justin Hardee‘s shoes as a reserve and special teams ace.
The Texans lost D.J. Reader to an unlikely team, with the Bengals deviating from a long-conservative free agency philosophy to sign the breakout defensive lineman to a four-year, $53MM deal. Bill O’Brien confirmed (via the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, on Twitter) the Texans wanted to keep Reader. The seventh-year Texans HC/first-year Texans GM said team brass had “good conversations” with the interior defender’s camp about a new deal but acknowledged the team “couldn’t get that one done.” The Bills, Broncos and Titans were among the known Reader suitors before the Bengals swooped in. The Texans initially came in with a $6MM-per-year offer before the 2019 season, but Reader’s bet on himself translated into $13MM-plus-AAV deal. Houston has not made a move to replace Reader up front. The Texans have $35MM in cap space but are working on a Laremy Tunsil extension and obviously have a Deshaun Watson deal to consider.
Here is the latest out of the AFC South:
Justin Reid made a pitch to O’Brien to consider his brother as an addition at safety, Wilson notes. The Panthers recently released Eric Reid. In addition to the younger Reid brother, Houston employs Tashaun Gipson at safety and just signed Eric Murray to a deal that surprised many. The Texans are not likely to make another major addition at this position this offseason.
Coming off one of the worst kicking seasons in modern NFL history, the Titans are bringing back late-season addition Greg Joseph. But they will add competition soon, GM Jon Robinson confirmed (via Jim Wyatt of TennesseeTitans.com). Robinson said the team will look in both free agency and the draft for its second kicker. The Titans went a ghastly 8-for-18 on field goals last season. Joseph did not attempt a field goal in two regular-season games with Tennessee and only attempted one — a make — in the Titans’ three playoff games. The former Browns kicker made all 18 of his extra point tries, however, and was successful on 25 of 29 field goal tries during his 2018 season in Cleveland.
The Colts‘ T.J. Carrie addition did not seem to add up given Kenny Moore‘s place as one of the league’s best slot cornerbacks, but GM Chris Ballard said the team needed better depth at this position (via Stephen Holder of The Athletic, on Twitter). Carrie has played both inside and outside during his time with the Browns and Raiders and will likely be given time at both spots with the Colts. He’s done his best NFL work in the slot, however, so Indianapolis should be covered behind Moore this season. Moore missed five games due to injury in 2019.
A few days after the Colts agreed to sign Xavier Rhodes, they are adding another veteran cornerback to the mix. The Colts and T.J. Carrie agreed to terms Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
It’s a one-year deal for Carrie, who will earn the veteran minimum, per Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). Carrie will receive $300K guaranteed, Caplan adds.
After being cut by the Browns in February, the former seventh-round pick visited the Seahawks earlier this month. Both he and Rhodes are street free agents, with the latter being a Vikings cap casualty.
The Colts have done some retooling in their secondary, releasing veteran Pierre Desir and signing Rhodes and Carrie. The latter duo brings a combined 13 years’ experience. For Carrie, this will be his third NFL team. The former Raiders draftee spent the past two seasons with the Browns.
Carrie worked as a part-time starter in Cleveland, opening 14 games with the Browns’ first-string defense during his time in Ohio. He worked as the Raiders’ primary slot defender in 2017. Pro Football Focus did not view Carrie’s Browns work as being on the same level as his Raiders contract year, but the 29-year-old defender will likely not be expected to be a starter in Indianapolis. He instead profiles as a depth piece for the Colts.
Free agent defensive back T.J. Carriewill visit with the Seahawks this week, per NFL insider Adam Caplan (via Twitter). The Browns released Carrie as part of a roster purge last month.
Carrie, who will turn 30 in July, joined the Browns on a four-year deal in 2018 after turning in a strong contract year as the Raiders’ slot cornerback. Over the past two seasons, he’s appeared in every possible game and started in 14 of those contests. Last year, he notched 52 tackles and one interception, but he was unable to get into a rhythm, and his coverage was nowhere near his best work in Oakland.
But he was strong in coverage in his first year in Cleveland, and he may be able to return to form with a new club. Seattle typically used three linebackers in nickel packages last season, with LB Mychal Kendricks serving as the de facto nickel corner. So adding Carrie — who also has some experience on the outside and at safety — to serve as the primary slot defender would likely be a boost to the entire secondary.
By the end of the season, 2019 fifth-rounder Ugo Amadi had usurped Kendricks at nickel, and head coach Pete Carroll recently said that the job was Amadi’s to lose (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). However, Carroll did couch his statement by saying that the team would continue to add competition for the role, and Carrie would be a well-established competitor.
In total, the moves will open up more than $13MM in cap room for the Browns with less than $4MM in dead money left over. It’s yet another signal that the club is committed to a significant roster haul under the guidance of new head coach Kevin Stefanski and GM Andrew Berry. All four released players were brought on board by former GM John Dorsey.
Carrie joined the Browns on a four-year deal in 2018 after turning in a strong contract year as the Raiders’ slot cornerback. Over the past two seasons, he’s appeared in every possible game and started in 14 of those contests. Last year, he notched 52 tackles and one interception, but he was unable to get into a rhythm and his coverage was nowhere near his best work in Oakland.
Harris, too, will see his contract terminated at the midway point. In his lone Browns season, he had 15 grabs for 149 yards and three scores. On the line, Kush had a perfect attendance record and started seven times, but the advanced metrics painted him as one of the worst qualified interior linemen in the NFL.
The trade that will sendJamar Taylor to his third NFL team will come with an adjusted contract. Taylor will make less for the Cardinals this year than he was supposed with the Browns, with Kent Somers of AZCentral.com reporting (on Twitter) the veteran cornerback will earn $3.5MM in base salary — down from $4.25MM. The additional $750K will be pushed onto the Cards’ 2019 balance sheet. The Cardinals and Browns have been discussing a Taylor deal since the draft, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com tweets, adding that the Bashaud Breelandavenue is likely closed after this trade. Taylor is under contract for two more seasons. Finding a capable Patrick Peterson counterpart has been a problem in Arizona for a while, and Taylor will have a decent chance to earn that No. 2 job. Now-well-traveled Bene Benwikere, former Jets corner Marcus Williams and one-time third-round pick Brandon Williams represent the top competition.
Here’s the latest from the West divisions, keeping with the subject of cornerbacks who have worn Browns colors recently.
Taylor and T.J. Carrie were Browns teammates for a little more than two months, and Cleveland has now traded both of its 2017 starting corners as John Dorsey enters his first full season as Browns GM. Carrie will factor in prominently in the Browns’ 2018 secondary, but Jon Gruden would have preferred the Raiders retain Carrie, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. It’s unclear how much the Raiders were willing to offer their 2017 slot corner, but Gruden and some members of his new staff did meet with Carrie just prior to free agency. And the Bay Area native wanted to stay. However, Bair mentions money guided him to northeast Ohio. It’s unlikely the Raiders’ offer was especially close to the Browns’ four-year, $31MM proposal.
It appears the Broncos are going to try Menelik Watson at guard. After the former Raiders tackle struggled mightily before his latest injury, allowing a career-worst 7.5 sacks despite playing in just seven Broncos games last season, the team’s putting him in competition with as-of-now starter Connor McGovern for its right guard job, Mike Klis of 9News notes. A sixth-year player, Watson is a career tackle. Denver, which has entered the past five seasons with five different right tackle starters, traded for Jared Veldheer to replace Watson on the edge. McGovern himself is a notable inclusion into the lineup, since Max Garcia has started at guard for two seasons. McGovern worked his way into Denver’s starting mix after being an injury replacement for Ronald Leary late last season.
After the Seahawks lost pro personnel director Dan Morgan to the Bills, they will replace him with Nolan Teasley. A former running back at Division II Central Washington, Teasley began his career as a scouting intern in 2013 but rose to the position of assistant pro personnel director in 2017.
By giving Patrick Mahomes a top-flight arsenal to work with as he begins his run as the Chiefs‘ starting quarterback, Andy Reid is taking a better approach to developing his most recent prized passing prospect compared to his work with Donovan McNabb, Geoff Mosher of The Score writes. McNabb was not given many notable pass-catchers early in his career, but Mahomes has plenty. With the $16MM-AAV Sammy Watkins deal representing a notable Chiefs about-face regarding their No. 2 wideout position, the franchise now has a quartet of weapons — Watkins, Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill — that rivals any it’s ever assembled. While the Chiefs’ defense may have some work to do after the Marcus Peters trade, Mahomes has far more to work with offensively than Alex Smith did when he arrived in Kansas City five years ago.
Many of this year’s top free agents came off of the board during the legal tampering period, including Kirk Cousins, Trumaine Johnson, Sammy Watkins, and Allen Robinson. Still plenty of the names from our list of the Top 50 Free Agents remain, including some new additions. Here’s a rundown of the players to keep an eye on as free agency officially begins, ranked roughly by their expected contract value:
1. Ndamukong Suh, DT (Dolphins): The Dolphins bailed on Suh’s mega contract midway through, freeing him up to sign another high-priced contract. He won’t get anything close to a six-year, $114MM deal this time around, but he should settle in at an AAV that keeps him among the best compensated players at his position. Last year, Pro Football Focus ranked Suh fifth among 122 interior defenders.
2. Tyrann Mathieu, S (Cardinals): The Cardinals worked feverishly to hammer out a new contract with the Honey Badger, but the two sides could not come to terms on a deal to lessen his 2018 cap hit. He has been released, allowing him to hit free agency as the best safety available. The Jets are not believed to be interested, despite his connection with head coach Todd Bowles. The other tenant of the Meadowlands, however, could have interest thanks to the presence of former Arizona DC James Bettcher.
4. Dontari Poe, DT (Falcons): Poe missed out on a big payday last year when teams shied away from him due to lingering back issues. After turning in his second consecutive 16-game season, things could be different this time. For the record – Poe has missed only two regular season games over the course of his career, so he boasts a better attendance record than a lot of other veterans on this list. He’s unlikely to circle back to Atlanta.
6. A.J. McCarron, QB (Bengals): It’s difficult to peg McCarron’s value heading into free agency. Outside of some quality starts in 2015, there isn’t much film out there on McCarron, despite that fact that he has spent four years in the NFL. Hue Jackson was itching to reunite with McCarron, but the Browns no longer seem a likely destination for him after the acquisition of Tyrod Taylor. It’s also hard to see him landing with the QB-needy Jets after they re-signed Josh McCown and added Teddy Bridgewater. McCarron will find a home, but it may not be as a starter. [UPDATE: McCarron has signed with the Bills]
7. E.J. Gaines, CB (Bills): Injuries in the fall limited Gaines to just 11 games last season, but he proved to be a quality return for the Bills in the Watkins trade, in addition to the second-round pick that came with him. Gaines graded out as the No. 13 cornerback in the league last year, per PFF, and he just turned 26 in February. Gaines missed all of ’15 due to injury and didn’t look all that sharp in ’16, but timing is everything in free agency. You can expect multiple teams to call on him and the Texans could still have interest, even after inkingAaron Colvin.
8. Eric Reid, S (49ers): Reid is just 26 and is undoubtedly a starting quality safety. He has both youth and versatility on his side, but it’s possible that his anthem protest participation could hurt him when it comes to some suitors. Injuries over the last two seasons will hurt his market as well.
11. Kenny Vaccaro, S (Saints): With the ability to play both safety and slot cornerback, Vaccaro will have a fair amount of suitors. Analytics-focused teams might not high on him after he ranked as the worst coverage safety in the league, according to PFF.
13. Ryan Jensen, C (Ravens): Jensen stepped into a starting role in 2017 and flourished, grading out as the No. 9 center in the NFL, per PFF. The former sixth-round pick also has previous experience at guard. The Jets were widely speculated to be a suitor, but they addressed their needs by signing Spencer Long instead. He has visits lined up with the Bucs and Colts.
14. Jack Mewhort, G (Colts): Mewhort’s season ended prematurely in October thanks to a knee injury, marking his second straight incomplete campaign. That’s not a great way to enter the open market, but he did have three quality years as an NFL starter before that. Mewhort doesn’t turn 27 until October, which helps his case.
17. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Jets): AS-J rebounded from personal issues to post the best season of his career with the Jets. He was impressive at times, but he is no better than the No. 3 TE in this year’s free agent crop. He’ll meet with the Seahawks and Jaguars. No word yet on whether the Saints, who missed out on a Jimmy Graham reunion, have any interest.
18. Tyler Eifert, TE (Bengals): Once one of the NFL’s brightest stars at tight end, Eifert has been limited by a host of injuries. You can expect Eifert to ink a one-year deal somewhere with a low base and ample incentives.
19. Terrelle Pryor, WR (Redskins): Pryor found himself disappointed by the 2017 free agent market, but that paled in comparison to the disappointment felt by the Redskins after signing him to a one-year deal. Pryor will benefit from a shallow WR crop, however. He is on the Browns’ radar, so a return to Cleveland is possible.
24. Demario Davis, LB (Jets):Davis wants $8-$10MM per year, but he’ll get about half of that. [UPDATE: Davis is off the board after signing a three-year, $24MM deal with the Saints, so he achieved his yearly goal after all. The deal includes $18MM guaranteed.]
25. Jordan Matthews, WR (Bills): Injuries held Matthews back in 2017, but he’s not far removed from posting 73 receptions for 804 yards and three touchdowns with the Eagles.
Carrie will almost surely play the slot in Cleveland, as the 27-year-old handled nickel duties for Oakland last season. In 15 starts, Carrie managed 70 tackles and graded as the NFL’s No. 21 CB, per Pro Football Focus. Football Outsiders’ metrics weren’t quite as fond of Carrie, as he ranked 68 out of 81 qualifiers in success rate.