Potential Commanders free-agent targets with connections to Ron Rivera
By Jerry Trotta
Jermaine Carter Jr.
The last time we checked, the Commanders are in the market for a linebacker. While Landon Collins, Cole Holcomb and Jamin Davis form a solid trio of off-ball linebackers (Ron Rivera foreshadowed Davis would switch positions near the end of the season), none of them are best-suited as inside backers.
Whether it be through the draft or free agency, we expect Washington go make a significant upgrade at the MLB position. However, the need to roster a capable backup was glaring even before Jon Bostic’s season-ending injury, and Jermaine Carter Jr. would be a perfect addition in that regard.
A former 2018 fifth-round pick of the Rivera regime in Carolina, Carter is coming off the undisputed best season of his career. The 27-year-old set career highs in starts (17), combined and solo tackles, tackles for loss (three), quarterback hits (three) run stops (38) and hurries (seven).
Those numbers won’t wow anyone, but it’s important to understand his career trajectory before you judge his ability. Over his first three seasons, he was someone who played more on special teams than defense. The adjustment was never going to be smooth, and Carter handled it with great professionalism.
We’d even go as far as to say that he was the Panthers’ top-performing linebacker this past season. That isn’t saying much (the position was a disaster), but it’s no coincidence why so many fas want him back in Charlotte.
A Maryland alum who was born and raised in Fort Washington, Carter makes too much sense as a backup inside LB for the Commanders.