|Free Agent Snapshot: Brandon Carr||03.04.12 at 7:21 pm ET|
We continue our look at 15 possible fits for the Patriots in free agency this offseason with a breakdown of cornerback Brandon Carr. With the understanding that the NFL’s franchise tag window is from now until March 5 (which means some of these players we list could ultimately be retained by their team) here are some players worth keeping an eye on that might be a fit in New England when free agency begins March 13:
Age: 25 (turns 26 on May 19)
Weight: 207 pounds
At the combine late last month, Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel was asked about the possibility of a Patriot free agent adjusting to life with the Chiefs relatively quickly because, at least on the surface, there are some similarities between the two systems. The question came in the context of free agent New England running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis possibly signing with Kansas City, but that situation is a two-way street when you’re talking about some of the Chiefs’ free agents, like Carr.
With Brent Grimes now franchised and Cortland Finnegan likely to command a big deal (if he’s not franchise quickly), Carr could represent the best value on the market if he doesn’t get the franchise tag. He’s going to get good money if he’s available, but he had a lot in his favor: he’s the youngest premiere free agent corner available, he has excellent coverage skills (he had four picks last season and has eight over the course of his career) and has shown himself to be extremely durable (he hasn’t missed a game in his four seasons in the league with the Chiefs).
According to Pro Football Focus, Carr allowed fewer than half the targets into his coverage area to be completed (39 of 79, or 49 percent), and yielded 511 yards in coverage over 1,030 snaps over the course of the 2011 season. As was the case with Richard Marshall’s numbers, the closest example to a New England defensive back was the model presented by Kyle Arrington, who saw 54 of the 100 passes in his direction be completed (54 percent), and allowed 810 yards in 991 total snaps.
The Chiefs just added former Oakland corner Stanford Routt in free agency, which clouds Carr’s future in Kansas City. As for Crennel, he’s on record as saying the Chiefs would love to have Carr return. “We would still like to have Carr back, because Carr is a good player for us and he did a good job for us,” he said at the combine. “But he’s in that unrestricted free agency pool. We’re going to try to keep him, but we’ll have to see how it goes.”
This is not the sort of signing that will lead sportscasts. But Carr represents an upgrade in several areas from the current group of New England cornerbacks. He has experience in both man and zone schemes, and would give the Patriots some positional versatility if they chose to move Devin McCourty to safety (and possibly bump someone like Arrington to slot corner) at any point during the 2012 season.
Why it might not work: There’s still a lot of moving parts when it comes to Kansas City and free agency: the Chiefs could still franchise Carr, but that would leave Dwayne Bowe available. Then, there’s the fact that if Carr does get to free agency, the Cowboys would make him their top priority. In addition, New England has had mixed success when it comes to picking up veteran corners in free agency.
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