The inevitable happened to the Arizona Cardinals offense back in Week 5. After an excellent start to the campaign, starting running back James Conner suffered a knee injury that would sideline him for four weeks. It was a setback that wasn't surprising in the least, considering the fact that the 28-year-old has missed time in every one of his seven NFL campaigns.
It the Cards plan to keep Conner around in 2024, a more capable backup for the injury-prone workhorse is a necessity. On Tuesday, the New York Jets released Michael Carter, a third-year ball-carrier with definite upside. Would general manager Monti Ossenfort consider adding the versatile back to the Arizona locker room?
Acquiring Carter would make a whole lot of sense for the Cardinals front office. The team's depth at running back is perilously thin. Conner's inability to get through a season unscathed makes Ossenfort's lackadaisacal offseason approach to the position even more unacceptable.
Michael Carter would provide an upgrade for the Arizona Cardinals at the backup running back spot
The best option behind Conner at the moment appears to be Emari Demercado, an undrafted free agent out of TCU. Others such as Keaontay Ingram, Tony Jones, and Corey Clement are nothing to get excited about. The Cards did acquire Marlon Mack this past summer, but the veteran tore his Achilles tendon just a few days after his arrival.
There are indications that Carter could have a bright future ahead. As a rookie back in 2021, the 5 foot 8, 210 pounder rushed for 639 yards and four touchdowns for the Jets. Carter also flashed pass-catching ability, amassing another 325 yards on 36 receptions.
In 39 total appearances (21 starts) for New York, Carter has been credited with 1,760 yards from scrimmage and seven scores. Despite the solid production, the former fourth-round draft pick became expendable when the Jets drafted Breece Hall last year. If that wasn't enough, the organization then proceeded to sign four-time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook this past August.
As the old saying goes, one man's trash could be another man's treasure. In this case, New York appears to be throwing away a perfectly good running back. It would be quite intriguing if Carter ended up landing on his feet in the Arizona desert.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)