Known for his speed, Carr should fill the Ravens’ need for young cornerback depth behind starters Fabian Washington and Domonique Foxworth and can provide a reliable return presence. Plus, the 25-year-old former Boise State standout has a background with Ravens secondary coach Chuck Pagano when they were both with the Oakland Raiders.
"That’s a good move for Baltimore because Chris is a good football player," said Mike Keith, the primary radio broadcaster for the Titans, in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon. "Some guys just play a position, and some guys play football. Chris runs back punts, he runs back kicks.
"He can help you out in coverage. He’s a good football player and a quality guy. He did a lot of good work for the Titans last season."
Last season, Carr ranked fourth in the NFL with a 28.1 kickoff return average and finished eighth in the AFC with a 10.1 punt return average.
Carr didn’t score a touchdown last season, but had a long return of 52 yards and gave the AFC South champions consistent field position. The Ravens lost punt returner Jim Leonhard in free agency to the New York Jets, and former third-round return specialist Yamon Figurs has struggled with his health and confidence.
"The bottom line with Chris is he takes care of the football," Keith said. "He’s an excellent kickoff and punt returner. He didn’t pop a touchdown last year, but he had some good returns and came close a couple of times.
"Every time he touches the ball, he protects it. You’re talking about a dependable returner. Derrick Mason was that way for us early in his career. He’s very similar to what Mason was like."
Carr is scheduled to finalize his contract with the Ravens as soon as Monday, which is also when veteran cornerback Samari Rolle anticipates he’ll be released after meeting with team officials and taking an exit physical.
Carr visited the Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and the New England Patriots before reaching a deal with Baltimore.
With the Raiders, Carr returned a Ben Roethlisberger interception 100 yards for a touchdown in a 2006 win over the Steelers.
In a 2006 game against the Ravens, Carr returned seven kickoffs for 206 yards and a 29.4 average.
Carr is the Raiders’ all-time leader in kickoff returns with 4,841 yards on 201 returns for a 24.1 average, but hasn’t run back a kickoff or a punt for a touchdown.
Since the end of the season, the Ravens have cut three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister, signed Foxworth, let Leonhard depart in free agency and haven’t attempted to retain free agent nickel back Corey Ivy.
Now, they are adding Carr and cutting ties with Rolle at his request in a move that will immediately create $4.1 million in salary-cap space for the team.
Last season, Carr recorded 31 tackles and one interception in two starts. According to NFL.com, he has 85 career tackles and two interceptions in four seasons.
A former undrafted free agent, Carr had four pass deflections and an interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game last season.
"They went right after him, and, early on, they had a little success," Keith said. "As the game wore on, he started knocking balls down and he eventually made a great interception. Chris plays with a lot of heart."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.