KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Former general manager Scott Pioli has been roasted, most times deservedly so, by Chiefs fans angry with many of the personnel moves he made in his four seasons in Kansas City. One of the unpopular moves I happened to agree with: his decision last year to let cornerback Brandon Carr become a free agent.
Carr returns to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday for the first time since, a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Don’t get me wrong: Carr is an excellent player who would still look very good in a Chiefs uniform.
In a perfect world, the Chiefs would have been able to retain Carr. But the NFL world isn’t perfect, and once the Chiefs’ other starting cornerback, Brandon Flowers, signed a contract extension in September 2011 worth $50 million over five years, Carr became a short-timer in Kansas City. He wasn’t going to take one penny less to stay, and the Chiefs couldn’t afford to give him the same contract they gave Flowers.
Technically, they could have given Carr a contract identical to Flowers'. And for the sake of argument, let’s assume the Chiefs signed Carr for the same deal he was given by the Cowboys: five years, $50.1 million (and you thought Carr wasn’t motivated by Flowers’ contract).
Carr would have cost the Chiefs about $5.4 million this year against the salary cap. The Chiefs instead used that room to sign both starting cornerbacks, Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson, who are costing them about $5.75 million this year against the cap.
So the Chiefs got two players for the price of one here. Given their need heading into this offseason for a quality nickel back, that’s a pretty good deal.
In essence, Pioli had to make a decision back then: Flowers or Carr. I’d say, in this case, he made the right one.