The Dallas Cowboys cornerback position is by far the most lopsided on the team in regards to the value provided by it’s players.
Both corners were added to the team during the 2012 off-season in an attempt to pair two top flight corners and shut down opposing wide receivers. If successful, the tandem would be locked up in Dallas until 2017.
Neither first-round draft pick Claiborne or highly sought after free agent Carr has given the team much value for their dollars.
In defense of Cowboys management, they weren’t the only ones fooled by these cubic zirconia players. Claiborne was almost unanimously viewed as the best defensive player in the entire 2012 draft.
Carr was in a dead heat with Cortland Finnegan as the two best corners on the free agency market the same year. Both veterans signed a contract of 5 years / $50 million.
Finnegan was cut by the St. Louis Rams after two seasons, then signed a modest 2 years / $11 million contract with the Miami Dolphins in 2014. Dallas wasn’t the only team that swung for the fences and bounced a soft single.
PICKING POCKETS, NOT PASSES
Dallas can’t release Carr or Claiborne for the same reason. Both players have dead money owed that either equals or is near the money saved in 2015 by cutting them.
To illustrate this better, below is a table showing what each 2014 cornerback will cost next year. I also rank their performance to show the gross inequalities of value.
[table id=93 /]
Starting corner Sterling Moore will be a free agent soon so I’m using his 2014 cap figure as a guide for value. As seen above, Carr and Claiborne have a 2015 cap hit consuming nearly 75% of the entire position’s cost.
The injustice here is I rank Carr as the third best corner last season, and Claiborne as the worst in terms of his overall performance in Dallas. These two guys have been fleecing the team since 2012. So what will Dallas do about it in 2015? Nothing more than eat their cap hit once again and hope for the best.
Cutting Carr would save Dallas a measly $566,000 in 2015. The Cowboys then lose a starting corner and have under $600,000 to find his replacement. In a league requiring five Sunday caliber corners to compete, Carr is a lock to return in 2015.
For those pondering the idea of restructuring Carr’s hefty cap hit, don’t forget doing so adds more years to a contract. Do you really want to remove the ability to cut Carr next year and postpone it for a few more?
As for Claiborne, cutting him now adds zero savings. His entire contract was guaranteed, split across four years, and all must count against the cap. Severing ties would remove a high draft pick from the position and provide $0 to replace him.
Thankfully management has no interest in restructuring and losing the ability to cut him free and clear in 2016. Sorry Cowboys fans, these pickpockets are here for another season. Adding more potent pass rushers is the only way to soften the blow.
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