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Giants 2021 roster profile: OLB Lorenzo Carter

Giants hoping fourth-year linebacker will finally take big step forward

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Lorenzo Carter’s 2020 season ended with a ride no NFL player wants to take.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have waited ... and waited ... and waited for outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter to become the star they thought he could be when they made him a third-round pick in the 2018 draft. Well, for the Giants and Carter 2021 might be now or never as this will be the final year of his rookie deal.

Let’s take a closer look at Carter as we continuing profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 250
Age: 25
Experience: 3
Position: OLB
Contract: Final year of four-year, $4.083M rookie deal | 2021 cap hit: $2.445M

Career to date

Carter has been a good player for the Giants. He has just never become the dominant player his athletic traits say he could be, or that the Giants hoped he would become when they made a third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Carter has 9.5 sacks, 27 quarterback hits and 103 tackles in 35 career games. Nice numbers, but nothing special. He tore his Achilles tendon in the fifth game of the 2020 season.

2021 outlook

If he is completely healthy, Carter should reclaim one of the two starting edge spots for the Giants. He could even end up across from another former Georgia edge defender, second-round pick Azeez Ojulari.

Can Carter make a Shaq Barrett-like jump? Barrett, after four pedestrian seasons totaling 14.0 sacks with the Denver Broncos, has 27.5 the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including 19.5 in 2019.

If he’s going to do that, the Giants hope it happens in 2021 and not after he goes elsewhere. This, though, will be the final year of his rookie contract. Considering that the Giants have admitted they could face difficult cap decisions next offseason, Carter’s 2021 season needs to give the Giants a reason to give him a lucrative second contract. Otherwise, he could be seeking a new NFL home.