Cowboys Angling to Bring Back Former CB as Starting Safety?

Brandon Carr

Getty Brandon Carr

In a sign of disinterest in Earl Thomas, the Dallas Cowboys hosted former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Brandon Carr on a free-agent visit, the team announced Friday.

According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, Carr’s rendezvous at The Star included COVID-19 testing, a prerequisite to a potential signing. Archer also notes the one-time Cowboy, should he touch pen to paper, would see significant snaps at safety, not cornerback, as Dallas aims to replace Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was released Thursday.

He played 173 snaps at safety last season with Baltimore after the Ravens acquired Marcus Peters. Carr played for the Cowboys from 2012-16 as a cornerback but there was talk about him playing safety later in his tenure. He could be in the mix as the Cowboys look for help after the release of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

The Dallas Morning News also reported Friday the Cowboys are in negotiations with Carr, though it’s unclear as of this writing when, or if, a deal would be consummated.

A fifth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs way back in 2008, 34-year-old Carr has totaled 673 tackles, 139 pass deflections, and 21 interceptions across 192 appearances for the Chiefs, Cowboys, and Ravens. He’s never missed a game as a pro — an incredible feat spanning over a decade.

His best NFL season in recent memory came in 2017, after landing a four-year, $23.50 million contract from the Ravens. He made 50 solo stops, tied for a career-high with four picks, and broke up 12 passes. The next year, he tied for the team lead in INTs (2) and finished second in PBUs (11).

Baltimore declined Carr’s option this past March, sending him to unrestricted free agency where he drew no known suitors.

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Fit in Dallas

Nobody will confuse Carr for Deion Sanders, but he’s among the best DBs left on the open market and would give owner/general manager Jerry Jones what he cherishes most: position flexibility.

If signed, it’s likely Carr indeed is tried full-time at safety opposite Xavier Woods. The team, though, really likes fifth-year man Darian Thompson, who enjoyed a fantastic training camp, and has shuttled CBs Chidobe Awuzie, Daryl Worley, and Reggie Robinson between both secondary spots.

If allowed to play corner, Carr would reinforce an ailing group led by Awuzie (knee) and Jourdan Lewis (ankle). The Dallas Morning News reported Friday that Lewis is a candidate to begin the regular season on injured reserve.

In a roundabout way, Dallas may swap one former Ravens defender for another. In March, the club signed CB Maurice Canady, who opted out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 concerns.

Jerry Doesn’t Deny Rumor of Imminent Thomas Signing

Jones would not confirm nor refute the latest speculation pertaining to Thomas, another Ravens castoff, who was dumped last month for punching a teammate.

Speculation that intensified Friday morning when Kevin Turner of 97.1 The Eagle reported the seven-time Pro Bowler would sign with the Cowboys “in the next 48 hours.” Turner added: “In other words, they won’t admit it publicly, but they’re meeting with Earl soon either virtually or in person.”

Soon after, Jones took to the 105.3 The Fan airwaves. He didn’t offer much, as predicted, failing to corroborate the veracity of Turner’s possible bombshell. Jones claimed he was unaware of the rumor prior to the interview.

NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported Monday that “no overtures” have been extended to Thomas’ camp. Slater’s sources relayed Friday they’re “genuinely oblivious to a meeting” between the sides, directly contradicting Turner’s hearsay. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr. also dumped cold water on the would-be marriage.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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