On the first official day of NFL free agency, the Ravens wasted no time making a minor splash. However, rather than signing an actual free agent, Baltimore picked up the contract option of cornerback Brandon Carr:
Source: the Ravens have exercised the 2019 option on CB Brandon Carr. He's never missed a game or a start in 11 NFL seasons.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 11, 2019
Carr, 32, has been a fixture in the Ravens secondary over the past two seasons. He’s played and started all 32 possible games since joining the team in 2017, recording a total of 101 tackles, 23 pass defenses, and six interceptions.
This past season, Carr received a 71.5 grade from Pro Football Focus, which qualifies as “above average” and ranked 35th among all cornerbacks in the NFL. While many cornerbacks begin to decline as they age, Carr has shown no signs of slowing down.
The Ravens decision to retain Carr for the 2019-20 season should come as no surprise, as general manager Eric DeCosta suggested Carr would be back in his press conference at the NFL scouting combine.
Eric DeCosta says he "expects CB Brandon Carr to be back." pic.twitter.com/dC2GFyTF5l— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) February 27, 2019
With Eric Weddle heading out West, there will be a leadership void in the secondary next year. Given Carr’s experience and veteran presence, it’s possible that he could take on a bigger role in terms of leadership.
Carr’s durability and consistency could also make Jimmy Smith, whose cap hit in 2019 is $15,850,685, expendable. Smith, 30, is no longer the elite cornerback he used to be, as injuries and suspensions have taken their toll over the past several seasons.
If the Ravens opt to part ways with Smith, their secondary could take a small hit but their starting cornerback trio of Carr, Marlon Humphrey, and Tavon Young is still one of the more talented groups in the league.
If Brandon Carr has another strong year, it’s possible that he could finish his career in Baltimore.