Brandon Carr and the cornerback market

As we noted from the start, there was never any indication that free-agent cornerback Stanford Routt would land with one of the NFC North's cornerback-deficient teams. But could Routt's decision to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs put another player on our division map?

Conventional wisdom suggests the Chiefs won't break the bank on re-signing cornerback Brandon Carr, 25, who has started every game for them in the past four years. I'm not sure if that's a safe bet, considering the Chiefs had a monstrous $67 million in salary-cap space before Routt signed a three-year deal that will pay him $11 million in 2012.

In other words, the Chiefs can keep Carr if they want him. We'll soon find out if they do. If he reaches the open market, however, Carr will be an attractive option for the Minnesota Vikings, who need multiple layers of help at the position, and the Chicago Bears, who might be looking for an upgrade alongside Charles Tillman. It's hard to imagine the Detroit Lions finding the salary-cap space to sign Carr, assuming they retain defensive end Cliff Avril in one way or another, but stranger things have happened.