NEPD Editor: James Christensen
Andre Carter’s performance in 2011 was a revelation, both for Carter and the New England Patriots.
However, training camp is rapidly approaching and little progress has been made on a new contract – is there still room for Carter on the Patriots roster?
After a disappointing 2010 season for the Redskins, the Patriots signed Carter in early August. The move paid immediate dividends for New England. Carter’s averaged .71 sacks per game in 2011, his highest total since he racked up 12.5 sacks during the 2002 season for the 49ers.
However, a torn quad during the Patriots week 15 matchup against Tim Tebow and the Broncos derailed Carter’s comeback season. While Carter is expected to be healed by the start of the season, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald states that money could be a stumbling block in Carter having another comeback season – with the Patriots anyway.
Last summer, Carter signed a one-year deal worth $2.75 million, and after his Pro Bowl nod, he’s looking for a three- or four-year contract more typical of a Pro Bowl salary.
The Patriots, however, are seemingly more interested in paying Carter a salary similar to last year’s. From their perspective, they’re worried about his durability after the injury.
If the Patriots don’t want to commit a ton of money to someone in their mid-thirties, Howe’s article mentioned two rookies that might be able to pick up some of Carter’s workload – first round pick Chandler Jones and third-round pick Jake Bequette.
While Jones and Bequette certainly can’t be counted on to each produce double-digit sacks like Carter and Mark Anderson, now with the rival Buffalo Bills, a mish-mash of the two rookies along with free agent signings Jonathan Fanene and Trevor Scott might come close at a fraction of the price.
A two-year contract worth $9 million would seem to be decent for both sides. Carter gets the extra year, while the Patriots keep the per-year figures below market value.
As of right now, Carter isn’t on our projected Patriots 53-man roster. However, if Carter acquiesces on his contract demands, I’m sure Coach Belichick will find a spot for him.