Barring a pay cut to provide additional salary cap flexibility, veteran starting cornerback Brandon Carr is expected to be released by the Dallas Cowboys, two league sources told Yahoo Sports. A potential replacement for Carr has also surfaced as an offseason target: impending Cincinnati Bengals free agent Adam Jones.
Carr's cap number for 2016 stands at more than $13.8 million, including $9.1 million in base salary and an additional $4.717 in prorated bonus cash. That number places him among the most expensive cornerbacks in the NFL next season, with his total cap hit at the cornerback spot ranked behind only three players – the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis; the Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman and the Carolina Panthers' Josh Norman (who had the franchise tag applied to him on Tuesday).
As it stands, Dallas is roughly $14 million under the $155 million salary cap. While that's not a dire cap situation, the available $14 million doesn't account for space necessary to sign draft picks or prospective free agents. With that in mind, if the Cowboys cut Carr prior to June 1, it would open up another $6.4 million in cap space. If the Cowboys waited until after June 1, it would open up $9.1 million (but that money couldn't be spent until Carr is off the roster).
Long a target of fan frustration, Carr's performance last season arguably didn't live up to the $12.7 million in cap space he required. Team owner Jerry Jones also recently said Carr's salary would be something the team would have to review this offseason.
With Carr's potential departure in mind, a league source identified Adam Jones as a potential replacement. Expected to be a reasonably priced free agent at cornerback, Jones' top end production in Cincinnati may ultimately be overshadowed by a late personal foul call in a playoff loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers in January.
Dallas has familiarity with Jones. He previously spent one season with the Cowboys, a 2008 campaign that was ultimately marred by injury and controversy. Following his stint in Dallas, Jones sat out 2009 after being cut, but eventually revived his career with the Bengals starting in 2010.
Interestingly, Jones and his agent, Peter Schaffer, were at a popular steakhouse in Indianapolis on Friday night during scouting combine week, the same night Cowboys ownership and personnel executives were having a team dinner at the restaurant. Jones and Schaffer were seen briefly exchanging pleasantries with Dallas director of player personnel Stephen Jones before departing.