Who’s the Cowboys’ Best Free Agent Corner Buy? K.C. Joyner Looks at Three Big-Ticket Prospects


Is Cortland Finnegan up to this
matchup twice a year?

Part three of my discussion with ESPN Insider’s NFL and college analyst K.C. Joyner looks at three of the biggest cornerback free agent prospects — Carlos Rogers, Cortland Finnegan and Brandon Carr.

K.C. Joyner:  somebody else the Cowboys may get a shot at is Carlos Rogers, depending on the the ‘Niners decide to do.   The problem with Rogers, he’s got a 6.6 YPA, had six interceptions, he’s the best combination of ball-hawk and cover guy, a guy who can do both, maybe in the league right now.

But he also is playing in a contract year, and this season all the Washington fans were asking, “where was this guy when we had him?”

CN:  We talked about him last spring, before the free agency period began and your run-down of the Redskins secondary was, Phillip Buchanon was good, Rogers was medicore and DeAngelo Hall was awful.  Now, he gets a one-year deal and he’s great.  He’s not a young guy, is he?

K.C.:  I think he’s responding to San Francisco situation very well.  He was not happy in Washington, for whatever reason.  But he’s 30.  So you’ve got the Nnamdi Asomugha question:  are you going to play big money for a guy whose best years are behind him?

If the Cowboys were looking at a one-year Super Bowl run, Carlos Rogers would be a smart move.  But I don’t think they’re looking at it that way, and I don’t think they should be.

CN:  I see Cortland Finnegan’s name raised a lot and maybe he was hurt last year, but I look at your 2010 metrics and he was bad.  He was 86th and he was one class above Terence Newman in ’10. He’s had good years in the past, but he’s a short corner.

Did he bounce back in 2011?

K.C:  It’s interesting because you’ve done some studies on YPAs in the past and cornerback numbers can move up and down wildly from year to year, and it’s rare to see the guy whose YPA stays constantly good season after season,  Finnegan had a good year this year.  At last check he was in the mid-7s.  He had a solid season, but not a great year.

He has down years every once in a while, but it may mean that he was beaten on a couple of plays.  If you get 70 passes thrown your way and you happen to get beat on one 70 yard pass, you could have the same season from year-to-year and you could go from 6.5 to 7.5 just on the strength of that one pass.  It’s important not to give up that pass, but it might not be indicative of your talent level as a whole.

I think that was more the case with Finnegan last year.  This year, he played well.  I like that he brings a certain physicality and anger and toughness to the secondary.  I think the Dallas secondary could use that.  They’ve had ball-hawking and I’d like them to be more feisty and really get after guys.  I think they’ve been more athletic guys and I’d like to see some more physical guys. From that standpoint he’d be a good fit.

CN:  Let’s talk about Brandon Carr.  You mentioned him last year as someone to keep an eye on, but he was restricted.  This year he’s on the market.  You pointed out that he’s not the glitziest prospect.  He’s been overshadowed on his own team by Brandon Flowers.  Flowers’ metrics were better in ’09 and ’10 but just slightly, maybe half a yard better.