Rob Ryan: Brandon Carr was best player in free agency

OXNARD, Calif. -- Rob Ryan is talking really big about Brandon Carr, the Cowboys’ new $50 million cornerback.

“He was the best player in free agency by far, not even close,” Ryan said.

Yes, Ryan clarified, the best player in free agency. Not just the best corner.

That means Ryan considers Carr, who hopes to make his first Pro Bowl in his fifth NFL season, a better player than Peyton Manning, Mario Williams, Carl Nicks and Mike Wallace among others.

Of course, Ryan’s boasts about his personnel should be taken with a whole salt shaker after last year, when he bragged about having the best defensive talent in the NFL and delivered mediocre results. There is no question, however, that the Cowboys like what they’ve seen from Carr in his first five practices after signing a five-year deal.

“This guy has been everything we expected,” Ryan said. “He’s a leader, he helps the other guys around him and the other thing is he’s a tough kid. He’s given us everything we wanted as a team. We need smart and tough, and that’s exactly what he is, and he’s competitive. You see him knocking receivers off the line of scrimmage.

“This guy’s not nervous about playing under the big lights. He’s here in Dallas. It is a different world here. Everything you do is scrutinized, but this guy won’t flinch. I can promise you that.”

Ryan suddenly flipped the politically correct switch when asked whether Carr ranked among the best corners in the league, saying he doesn’t see every corner. Ryan also didn’t bite when asked whether Carr is the best corner he coached, which would put Carr above big-dollar Eagles corner Nnamdi Asomugha.

“I don’t like comparing everybody else, because all I do is get ripped on anyways,” said Ryan, still smarting from the backlash of bragging that Dallas had two receivers better than Detroit’s Calvin Johnson a couple days before Megatron scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns in the Lions’ comeback at Cowboys Stadium. “(Expletive), I thought our receivers were better than somebody’s.

“I’m not going to say that, but I know one thing: He’s a great football player. So whatever great is, he’s just as great as anybody else’s.”