We have entered the deepest depths of the NFL offseason. Free agency and the draft are behind us, while minicamp and training camp won't start until early June and late July, respectively.
However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop. After all, by late August, each team has to start making its roster cuts. Until then, players have to secure their spots on the team; they need to do their jobs (well) or someone else will.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we will take a look at the men fighting for those spots on the 2016 New England Patriots. Today, we'll take a look at wide receiver DeAndre Carter.
Name: DeAndre Carter
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 13
Size: 5'8, 190 lbs.
2015 review: After going undrafted in 2015, Carter joined the Baltimore Ravens, with whom he spent the entire summer before getting released during the first wave of roster cuts. Two weeks later, the former Sacramento State receiver was signed to the Oakland Raiders' practice squad.
After two-and-a-half months, the Raiders released Carter and he signed with the Patriots' practice squad on December 15. A month later he was released again, only to re-sign with New England's practice squad one day later. After the Patriots' season ended, Carter signed a reserve/future contract with the team.
While Carter did not play a single snap during his rookie season, he did catch five passes for 67 yards in two 2015 preseason games. However, he also muffed two punts.
2016 preview: The Patriots have a really deep wide receiver depth chart. Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Matthew Slater, Malcolm Mitchell and Keshawn Martin are all either locks or near-locks to make the 53-man roster. Naturally, that does not leave a lot of spots for unproven players like Carter. Therefore, his best chances of staying in New England are either as a core special teamer or via the practice squad.
The first scenario is less likely, given the resources the team has already allocated to special teams and Carter's probably limited offensive impact. However, if he is able to impress coaches enough over the course of the summer, the team may keep him around on its 10-man practice squad and as both a developmental and emergency wide receiver option, that also has experience in the kicking game.
DeAndre Carter faces a tough competition this summer and really needs to stand out in order to earn a job in Foxboro. While the odds are against him making the 53-man roster, he could very well find himself a spot on the team's practice squad – if he performs.