Countdown to March 13th: Brandon Carr

When the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Brandon Carr in 2008, not much was expected of the Division II player from Grand Valley State. Then coach Herm Edwards invested a 5th round pick on Carr seeing promise that has now developed into elite talent. But can the Chiefs keep him long term?

Paired with the talents of fellow corner Brandon Flowers, the Chiefs secondary was one of the best in the NFL in 2011 and will elevate to new heights in 2012 with the return of star safety Eric Berry.

But for this dream team of Carr, Flowers, Berry, and another emerging star safety Kendrick Lewis, the Chiefs will need to invest substantial dollars to retain Carr's playing rights.

The Chiefs have the money to extend Carr, and if they decline, it's only because they feel they can upgrade the position elsewhere.

In September, the Chiefs extended the contract of Flowers to the tune of 5-years, $50 million ($35 million guaranteed). Had they not done so, like Carr is now, Flowers would have been an unrestricted free agent in March.

Carr is a proven commodity but is not yet at the point in his career where he will earn Nnamdi Asomugha or Darrelle Revis money. Despite being tied on the Chiefs with Flowers with 4 interceptions, and second in pass deflections with 15, I can't see any team in the league that would value Carr more than the Chiefs.

Of all the positions on the Chiefs roster that they can ill afford to lose a proven player it's at corner. Without Carr, the Chiefs would be relying upon one of a group of returning players to step up into a starting role. The top candidate would likely be Javier Arenas who despite playing well in sub-packages, has struggled at times when asked to cover in a traditional cornerback role.

The Chiefs drafted Jalil Brown last April but Brown struggled to get on the field in 2011 and it would be a stretch at the moment to suggest he can make enough strides in the offseason to make an impact in 2012.

That leaves the Chiefs with Travis Daniels, who did show signs of quality play last season by grabbing a pair of interceptions, as a man who could start if the Chiefs can't retain Carr long term or don't place the franchise tag on him.

That said, selling either Daniels or Brown to an already skeptical fan base might be a tough sell as well as a significant decline in talent.

If the Chiefs pass on Carr they would almost assuredly have to address the loss in free agency or via the draft.

The group of free agent corners in this class isn't very long. But Carr's name is somewhere near the top of the list near Cortland Finnegan, Brent Grimes, and Carlos Rodgers.

Carr deserves to get his money and corners in the NFL are always at a premium. Still If the Chiefs go the free agent route, they won't find anyone as skilled as Carr on the open market.

So that means the Chiefs could go to Plan B - the NFL Draft.

It's likely top corner prospect Morris Claiborne will be off the board when the Chiefs draft at either 11th or 12th. But several talented corners will be there for the plucking if the Chiefs pass on upgrading their offensive line. The hot corners available in rounds one and two include Dre Kirkpatrick and Alfonzo Dennard. Still even though the those kids are talented, a learning curve would be expected should they be thrust into a starting role for Kansas City.

With a stout defense emerging as the Chiefs identity, resigning and continuing progress makes the retaining of Carr the top priority for the Chiefs this offseason. With new Head Coach Romeo Crennel's oversight, I don't see the Chiefs dropping the ball on this one. Although contract talks may linger for some time, I would expect the Chiefs to make a very strong push to retain Brandon Carr.


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