Goodby DeAndre, we’ll always have Atlanta
The DeAndre Carter watch has come to an end. Ian Rappaport broke the news late Thursday that the return man/receiver had signed a contract with the LA Chargers, joining his former WFT teammate Dustin Hopkins, and former Redskins tight end Donald Parham in the land of sunshine and movie stars.
The financial details of the deal belie the value than many Washington fans seemed to feel that Carter had for NFL teams. The announced details of a 1-year, $1.1m deal + incentives is barely above a minimum wage contract for the 6th year player, and less than the 2-year, $3m contract I had projected for Carter.
The #Chargers signed speedy WR/returner DeAndre Carter to a 1-year, $1.1M deal with an additional $1.25M available in incentives.— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) April 8, 2022
Washington would have had no difficulty matching or even beating these terms, so either Ron Rivera, Nate Kaczor and Scott Turner agreed that Carter wasn’t worth trying to keep on the roster, or Carter really wanted to get out of town.
Carter became a fan favorite in Week 4 when he went 101 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff return, but even without this play, he was a competent return man who made good decisions and helped set up the offense in “plus” positions with most of his returns. He was slightly less effective as a punt returner, but did have a decisive style of north-south returns that fans appreciated.
With the loss of Carter to the Chargers, the seemingly annual search for reliable punt / kick returners will resume in Washington.
A look back at Washington Free Agents
When the Football Team’s season ended in January, I took a look at the roster and identified 22 players that I thought the front office might want to re-sign. Here’s my list:
Of the 22 players, 5 have now been signed by other teams. I have to say, I expected Scherff and Settle to both leave in free agency; I wasn’t shocked about Ricky Seals-Jones (I see him as a replaceable TE); I was a bit surprised about Kyle Allen, whom I expected them to hold onto through training camp, and I thought that Carter would only leave in free agency if he got a better contract than the Commanders were willing to offer. In that light, I guess it’s fair to say that Carter was the only surprise.
Of the remaining 17 on my list, 14 have inked deals to return to Washington. The head office also brought back some players that weren’t on my list, such as Milo Eifler and De’Jon Harris.
That leaves 3 guys that I identified in January as possible re-signings that remain in limbo — not on any NFL roster 3 weeks before the draft. I have them bolded and highlighted at the bottom of the left column.
Humphries is a 7-year veteran slot receiver who was signed to a 1-year contract by the Washington Football Team a year ago. Humphries had enjoyed his two best NFL seasons in Tampa Bay in 2017-18, when he produced over 1,400 yards and 7 total touchdowns. His quarterback for those two seasons was Ryan Fitzpatrick; the idea seemed to be that Humphries would provide Fitzpatrick with a receiver he was familiar with to help him in an unfamiliar offense.
Fitzpatrick’s season lasted only 26 minutes, and Humphries never really got a lot of traction in 2021, catching 41 balls for 383 yards and no TDs on 62 targets. He did seem to have a knack for finding the line to gain in clutch situations, and 23 of his 41 receptions resulted in first downs. For this reason (along with his thrifty contract — he had a cap hit of $1.19m in 2021), I thought he might return for the Commanders’ inaugural season.
So far, Humphries remains a free agent. He’s just 29 years old, and even a minimum wage deal would pay him around $1m, so I imagine he’ll want to get on a roster somewhere in 2022. Depending on how things go in the draft, I wouldn’t bet against the possibility that he could return to Washington for a 2nd season, but at this point it seems more likely that he’ll end up competing for the backup slot receiver position in one of the other 31 NFL training camps.
I was in the minority of WFT fans who expected the Roberts signing to be good for both player and team last season. I saw him as a versatile DB who would likely see a lot of playing time rotating in for packages and injury relief. I thought he had a chance to be the #1 option at slot corner.
That never really worked out. Roberts saw the field in only 6 games, and got significant snaps in only 3 of them (Weeks 15, 16 and 18) when the roster was depleted by COVID and injury.
D.J. Hayden was signed by the Commanders in December, and then signed a future contract in January. Hayden is an 8-year veteran with essentially the same skillset as Roberts, meaning that there is really no reason for the team to have both of them on the roster.
Washington appears to have a hole at the slot corner/buffalo nickel position that is likely to be solved in the draft. If not, I’d expect the team to look for a free agency solution in May, but, at this point, I don’t expect Roberts to return.
The truly interesting player still unsigned is CB Torry McTyer.
McTyer had had an undistinguished 3-year NFL career before joining the Washington Football Team prior to the 2021 season. He had just 420 career defensive snaps, but had only been on the field in an NFL regular season game for 8 snaps in 2019 & 2020 combined; in those two seasons, he was primarily a practice squad player who was elevated for two early-season games in 2020.
Arriving in Washington a year ago, he seemed to be a 26-year-old cornerback who was just filling out the 90-man roster. But the reports out of camp were that McTyer looked great. Day after day, beat reporters were saying that he was making plays. He was something of a camp sensation, and he made the 53-man roster to start the season.
For the first 3 games of 2021, McTyer saw the field sparingly, getting just 13 snaps in 3 games. When Ben St-Juste was out injured in Week 4, however, McTyer’s playing time picked up, and he played 29 snaps (close to half the total defensive snaps for the game).
That Week 4 game against the Falcons ended with a desperation 40-yard pass into the end zone that was broken up by Bobby McCain. The TV coverage came to an end almost immediately, and not many people realized that McTyer suffered a season-ending ACL injury on that play, in the same game that Jon Bostic was lost for the season.
McTyer is now 27 years old. He was a backup CB last year, but one who had shined in camp. In his only significant action of the ‘21 season, he earned a 73.2 grade from PFF.
Honestly, I had expected to hear that McTyer would be returning to Washington this season. Instead, there’s been really nothing reported at all. I spent a lot of time with Google, trying a number of different searches, but can’t find any updates beyond the initial injury reports from October last year. This may be an indication that McTyer’s rehab isn’t progressing as well as it might. It could also be an indication of the realities of the NFL; there are younger, cheaper, more talented players not trying to return from an ACL injury.
As I mentioned in the discussion of Darryl Roberts’ status, the team seems likely to look to the draft for a young cornerback or LB/S hybrid capable of playing in the slot, and if they fail to find one among the team’s 6 picks, there will almost certainly be some free agent options available in early May capable of replacing or upgrading Roberts and McTyer.
While I had initially expected McTyer to be returning to Washington’s training camp in 2022, the lack of any rumors or reports at all leave me thinking that the team will have a young drafted player or a post-draft free agent at training camp instead.
How do you feel about DeAndre Carter signing with the Chargers?
This poll is closed
Gutted; this is a huge and unnecessary loss to the team
Disappointed; I thought he played well and would like to have seen him return
Unaffected; players like Carter are a commodity that can be replaced pretty easily
Pleased; I always thought he was over-rated
What would be your preference?
This poll is closed
Re-sign Adam Humphries
Re-sign Darryl Roberts
Re-sign Torry McTyer
Let them all go; time to move on