Last year he took over for Tracy Porter. This year, Broncos cornerback Tony Carter has taken over for an injured Champ Bailey, and has proven yet again that he is more than capable of being a fine starting corner in the National Football League.
Like fellow cornerback Chris Harris–who has emerged into one of the best in the NFL–Carter came into the league as an undrafted free agent in Josh McDaniels’ first year with the team back in 2009, where he played two games and started one for the Broncos.
In 2010, Carter wound up playing with the New England Patriots and playing in another two games before he was reacquired by the Broncos in 2011. He spent the better portion of his first three years in the league on Denver and New England’s practice squad, playing in just seven total NFL games over that time frame.
In 2012, the Broncos had to call upon Carter for a much bigger role when Tracy Porter was out for an extended period of time, and he made a huge impact. Among players who were targeted 60 times in 2012, Carter led the NFL by only allowing 27 catches, and he also finished the 2012 season with 27 tackles, 12 passes defensed, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and a huge touchdown against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football.
Even after a stellar 2012 season, it was merely expected that Carter would provide the Broncos with solid experience and depth at the cornerback position for the 2013 season, but the fifth year veteran and former Florida State Seminole was called upon yet again in the wake of Champ Bailey’s injury situation.
All he’s done in the team’s first two games is break up a league-high eight passes, pick off a pass, and cause another interception with his foot (you saw the play).
The productivity of Carter is extremely encouraging, and he is a major reason why the Broncos are able to sustain an injury to a star player like Bailey. Losing an elite cornerback is never a preferred bit of news for your team, but in the case of the Broncos, it’s something that can be easily absorbed, apparently.
Carter’s emergence could not only provide the Broncos with a nice convenience for the time being, but it could also alter the team’s future plans in terms of drafting and targeting free agents. He is making $715,000 in 2013, and is a restricted free agent in 2014. He will undoubtedly be with the Broncos–barring some huge offer in free agency–until at least 2015, perhaps longer.
This is a player who deserves a new contract, but the Broncos have quite a few of those coming up. For now, he is a great bargain and a huge piece to a championship puzzle.