Back in November, the Arizona Cardinals front office went picking through the trash of the New York Jets. What general manager Monti Ossenfort found was an exciting young running back who could play a significant role with the Redbirds offense going forward.
In what now looks like a major mistake, the Jets management group thought it would be a good idea to part ways with Michael Carter. New York was stacked at the position, with both Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook (released on Tuesday) perched at the top of the depth chart. The Cards, on the other hand, jumped at the chance at acquiring an intriguing back like Carter off of the waiver wire.
The addition of Carter has already begun to pay off in a big way for the Arizona scoring attack. Last Sunday, the 24-year-old gained 61 yards on just seven carries during the squad's 35-31 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. For those keeping track, that was a sparkling 8.7 yards per tote for the speedy Carter.
While his numbers on the ground were extremely impressive, Carter was equally effective as a pass catcher for his new team. With 8:42 left in the third quarter, the Florida native scored his first touchdown in a Cardinals uniform on a six-yard toss from quarterback Kyler Murray. Carter ran through Eagles linebacker Shaquille Leonard on the play, not long after breaking off runs of 16 and 21 yards during the "Big Red" scoring drive.
The Arizona Cardinals drastically improved their depth at running back with Michael Carter
Of course, Carter's outing was overshadowed by Conner's incredible performance. The Cards battering ram rumbled for 126 yards on the ground, and accounted for a pair of touchdowns as well. In all, Conner and Carter accounted for a whopping 187 of Arizona's 221 rushing yards against a Philadelphia defensive unit that seemed ill-equipped to stop the onslaught.
The fact that the Jets would choose to simply give up on the talented Carter is a bit of a head-scratcher. From all accounts, the former fourth-round draft pick has been a phenomenal pickup from day one. This past Monday, head coach Jonathan Gannon gushed about what Carter has brought to the Cardinals franchise.
""He loves the game of football, and I love that about him. You can't get him out of practice, he wants to take all the scout team reps and all the first team reps. He's kind of the perfect fit for what we're doing.""- Jonathan Gannon
Source: Addition of Michael Carter has Cardinals run game set up for 2024 by Tyler Drake, Arizona Sports
Following two-plus seasons in the "Big Apple", it appears that Carter may have found a permanent home in the desert. At just 24 years of age, it stands to reason that the former University of North Carolina product still has a ton of good football ahead of him. The future looks bright, and it's exciting to think that the next phase of Carter's NFL career will be spent in the Cards backfield.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com)