2. Jermaine Carter Jr.
(Update: Carter has since been signed by the Chiefs since this writing was scheduled. Sometimes free agency doesn’t cooperate, but Washington reportedly had interest so we were barking up the right tree).
Of the Commanders’ two outside free agent signings, both have had previous connections to head coach Ron Rivera. And by connections we mean both players, Andrew Norwell and Efe Obada, played under Rivera with the Panthers.
Enter Jermaine Carter Jr., whose future in Carolina has seemingly been decided by the front office’s signings of Damien Wilson and Corey Littleton in free agency. That should send a crystal clear message to Carter about where he stands.
That’s pretty odd when you consider Carter is coming off the best season of his professional career. The former fifth-round pick in 2018 started all 17 contests and notched career-highs in tackles (88), tackles for loss (three) run stops (38) and QB hits (three). He didn’t grade out highly from PFF, but we’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt given the talent, or lack thereof, he was surrounded by.
Also worth noting, too, that Carter experienced a monster uptick in snaps at linebacker last season. Over his previous three years in the NFL, he played more on special teams (60.6 percent of the snaps) than on defense (19 percent).
Is Carter ready for a three-down role as an inside linebacker? Maybe, maybe not, but he’d go a long way towards filling a void for Washington.
Throw in the fact that he played college ball at Maryland and was born and raised in Fort Washington, and we’d be shocked if Rivera doesn’t at least consider reuniting with his former fifth-round pick this offseason.