DeAndre Carter has been WFT’s best offseason pickup. No, really originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The 2021 offseason saw a wealth of additions for the Washington Football Team. They were headlined, at least at the time, by the likes of William Jackson III, Curtis Samuel, Jamin Davis and a few others.
DeAndre Carter flew under the radar when he signed his deal on April 1st. There was no hype video, no big announcement on ESPN’s ‘Bottom Line,’ and relatively little commotion in the media. Washington posted two tweets about his signing, but those were largely overshadowed by Sean Taylor tribute videos (it was his birthday) and opening day of the Washington Nationals’ season.
Carter, 28, was signed on April Fool’s day, which is appropriate considering he’s surprised all of us and become Washington’s best signing from the offseason.
Carter quickly impressed the coaching staff during training camp by running great routes and being a sturdy and explosive return man. Ron Rivera even went so far as to say Carter “looks good with the ball in his hands,” which rings truer and truer by the week.
He’s Washington’s only return man. Don’t expect anybody else to take his reps on kick or punt returns, especially after he returned a kickoff 100 yards for his first career touchdown in Week 4. That was a moment that earned him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
It’d be reasonable to assume at that point that Carter would end up just being a flash in the pan. He hasn’t.
Carter continued to impress on the national stage after the Atlanta game. He put up 73 total yards against New Orleans the next week before going on an absolute tear—he went three straight weeks with a receiving touchdown against the Broncos, Buccaneers and Panthers.
Most recently, his performance against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football was a bit quieter as he didn’t find the end zone. However, he ended up making almost an equally crucial contribution.
With just over three minutes to go, WFT found itself without a kicker after Joey Slye’s injury and couldn’t accept a field goal attempt. They needed to go for it on a massive fourth down just outside the red zone. Convert, and the game becomes immensely easier to put away; don’t convert, and Russell Wilson gets the ball back. DeAndre Carter got wide open over the middle. First down.
It would be one of four receptions for Carter on the night for 42 total yards. What doesn’t show up on the stat sheet might just be more impressive: his increased production means teams will have to give him more attention, thus opening up the field a bit more for Terry McLaurin. The effect that might have on the offense as a whole can’t be understated.
Behind Dustin Hopkins (now a Charger), Antonio Gibson and McLaurin, Carter has scored the most points for Washington this season. For a guy who’s mostly bounced around practice squads in his NFL career, that is incredible.
Carter is making less than a million dollars this season. He’s worth a lot more. He has that ‘dog’ mentality, which he got from his late brother, that motivates him each week.
He has more to prove than McLaurin or even Samuel, but continues to prove his worth every week.
If Carter continues to be one of WFT’s best offensive and special teams options, it’d be hard for Washington not to give him a bigger role as the postseason draws closer. Washington might have just snagged themselves a gem, and along with J.D. McKissic, one that they might want to keep around for a while.