The crowded depth chart along the defensive line in New England has claimed its first victim.
Markell Carter said goodbye to Boston and Patriots fans on his Twitter account on Thursday morning and Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe quotes a source saying that Carter has been released. Carter was a sixth-round pick out of Central Arkansas in 2011 and spent the entire year on the practice squad transforming himself from a college linebacker into a defensive end.
Normally the release of a player like Carter wouldn’t cause much of a ripple, but circumstances make this one a little more interesting. Carter was named the Patriots’ practice squad player of the week seven times last season and the team chose to give him a raise from $149,000 to $306,000 in order to keep him from joining another team last season. That indicated plans for the future involving Carter, but those plans obviously changed.
Part of the change likely has to do with the work the Patriots have done to shore up the line this offseason. They signed Jonathan Fanene and Trevor Scott as free agents and drafted Chandler Jones and Jake Bequette in April. They have also been using Rob Ninkovich at defensive end a bit during OTAs, all of which added up to a losing situation for Carter.