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Brandon Carr probably will take pay cut or get released

IRVING, Texas - Brandon Carr didn't nearly play as poorly during the final month of the season and the playoff as most folks think.

He was more physical against the run and actually broke up some passes. He played with more confidence and his performance against Green Bay receiver Jordy Nelson in the playoffs was terrific. Shadowing him much of the day, Nelson caught only two passes for 22 yards.

For the record, Nelson caught 98 passes for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season.

Still, he's supposed to count $12.7 million against the salary cap with a salary of $8 million. The Cowboys will probably give him the same option they gave right tackle Doug Free a couple of years ago: Take a pay cut or get released.

“Carr played well this year and I’m not as critical of Carr as others,” owner Jerry Jones said. “But that’s a lot of money. One thing that we've just got to do is we’ve got to make sure that every way we can we get the value for the money.

Free took a pay cut, and it worked out well for him. He has played well the past two seasons, and now he has the leverage as a free agent. While the Cowboys have restructured Carr's deal in the past, it's unlikely they choose to go that route again.

“There’s an issue of going and borrowing some money, borrowing it in the sense of hedging, taking money from future years," Jones said. “There’s an issue there. We’ll maximize our dollar.”