Jermaine Carter – Carolina Panthers LB
There was a lot to like about the way Jermaine Carter applied himself over the second half of the season. The linebacker and Matt Rhule didn’t get off to the best of starts from a personality standpoint, but the head coach had little option other than to throw him into the lineup thanks to the dismal performances of free-agent signing Tahir Whitehead.
Carter reinvigorated things at the second level and his presence on the interior benefitted Shaq Thompson considerably. However, whether this was enough to earn a starting spot long-term is up for debate and especially when one considers the signings made by the Carolina Panthers in free agency.
Denzel Perryman arrived from the Los Angeles Chargers and is set to take over the middle linebacker position. And much will depend on where defensive coordinator Phil Snow plans to use Haason Reddick following his 12.5 sack campaign with the Arizona Cardinals in 2020.
One positive Carter has going for him is Jeremy Chinn potentially moving back to his preferred position of safety after starring at outside linebacker during his rookie campaign. But if the former fifth-round pick was hoping for an easy path to a starting role, he’s going to be out of luck.
Hopefully, the relationship between Carter and Rhule has resolved itself ahead of a big year for the player, who is heading into the final season of his rookie deal and will make a base salary of $920,000.