Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne have 'unfinished business'

IRVING, Texas -- Back in 2012, the Dallas Cowboys thought they had answered their cornerback problems.

On March 14, 2012, they signed Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50 million deal as a free agent away from the Kansas City Chiefs. Six weeks later they moved up to the sixth overall pick to draft Morris Claiborne, whom they had graded as their highest cornerback since Deion Sanders, in the first round.

The moves did not work out the way they envisioned. Carr was solid early on with six interceptions in his first two seasons, returning two for touchdowns, but the expectations of such a contract are rarely met. Claiborne has not played a full season in his career because of injuries and has only three interceptions in four seasons.

There was a chance neither would remain a Cowboy this offseason but both chose to return.

Claiborne signed a one-year deal worth $3 million, eschewing other chances elsewhere. Carr agreed to a pay cut from $9.1 million in base salary to $4.25 million, plus a $1 million roster bonus.

"It feels good to have my brother with me, man," Carr said Tuesday at Reliant's Fifth Annual Home Run Derby to Benefit Salvation Army, held at Frisco RoughRiders Dr Pepper Ballpark. "Similar mindsets. We both have chips on our shoulders. Got some unfinished business right now."

Carr has not recorded an interception since Thanksgiving, 2013, but the coaches appreciate his availability. He has never missed a game in his career, 128 straight games. He played last year with a shoulder injury that did not require postseason surgery but required rest.

The Cowboys considered parting ways with Carr, which could have saved more cap room than the $3.6 million created by the pay cut, but they would have opened up a hole on their roster. When they looked at the landscape of what corners were being paid, they were able to find a common ground.

Carr wasn't looking to leave, either.

"My family, first and foremost," Carr said. "We've been here for four years and my kids absolutely love the community, love the city of Dallas. My teammates, of course, those are my brothers. We spent four hard years and been through some things here. And just the community, (my) foundation. I felt strongly that I needed to stay here for my foundation and those schools that we have different programs in right now."

Claiborne was limited to 11 games last season because hamstring and ankle injuries after playing in just four games in 2014 because of a serious knee injury. The Cowboys chose not to pick up his fifth-year option last spring, which allowed him to test the market this offseason.

"It's the only place I know," Claiborne said. "I'm so used to the guys and the coaches that's here. We have some tough fans, but I still love them all. I wouldn't rather play for anybody else."

If all goes as planned, Carr will continue to start and Claiborne would likely serve as the third corner with Orlando Scandrick returning from a missed season due to torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his knee.

If they have the seasons the Cowboys planned them to have back in 2012, then they could find themselves in positions to cash in as free agents in 2017.

"I wouldn't lie to you, it's definitely motivating," Carr said. "You kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at the same time I've got to stay focused on the main goal and that's with these guys, take it one day at a time and try to get to that Super Bowl at the end of the year."