INDIANAPOLIS – A 2020 free agency trend of Chris Ballard continued on Monday.
The Colts are adding guys who have proven to be very available in their NFL careers.
New cornerback T.J. Carrie is the next player who falls into that grouping, after the veteran corner signed a one-year contract with the Colts on Monday afternoon.
In Carrie, the Colts are getting a versatile cornerback, which will make him attractive when the roster needs to be cut down.
The 29-year-old Carrie has played in 92 career games (50 starts) for the Raiders (2014-17) and Browns (2018-19). Carrie has suited up and played in 72 straight games, the third longest streak of any NFL cornerback.
With Cleveland turning to new GM Andrew Berry back in late January, Carrie was among several cap-saving moves following that hire.
The decision saved the Browns $6.3 million, as Carrie was let go with two years remaining on his second NFL contract (he originally signed a 4-year, $31 million deal with Cleveland back in 2018).
Originally a 7th round pick out of Ohio, Carrie appealed to the Colts thanks to his ability to line up as a nickel/slot cornerback.
Carrie, 6-0 and 204, brings some important versatility to the cornerback position, which is something Ballard felt the Colts didn’t have, and got exposed by late in 2019.
With the Colts having no viable replacement for Kenny Moore, their pass defense wilted down the stretch.
An ankle injury to Moore in early December surprisingly ended his ‘19 season and the Colts could not find a suitable answer to replace him at the nickel position.
“We had a major drop off when we lost Kenny,” Ballard stressed earlier this offseason.
“To replace a Kenny Moore with another guy is tough. It’s tough. Especially at that position. It’s such an important position on the field. We do need to get better play out of the backup nickel.”
That’s where Carrie could very well be the guy.
Carrie struggled in coverage in 2019, but is known for his tackling and blitzing capabilities, which are key attributes to playing nickel in the Colts 4-3 defense.
Currently, the Colts have the following corners headlining their group (alphabetical order): T.J. Carrie, Kenny Moore, Xavier Rhodes, Marvell Tell, Quincy Wilson, Rock Ya-Sin.
Week Three of free agency typically brings moves for depth and guys competing for roster spots.
A one-year deal for Carrie is another reason that things could be difficult for a guy like Wilson to secure a roster spot in his 4th NFL season.