A contract year is incentive enough for players to put forth their best performance, in hopes of being resigned or raising their stock for free agency. But for Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie, this season presents an opportunity to show how far he’s came.
Since being taken in the seventh-round of the 2014 draft out of Ohio, Carrie has had quite the journey. Over the course of his first three seasons, he’s played outside cornerback on both sides of the field, as well as the nickel position, and even safety. As Oakland has struggled to figure out its secondary woes for the last few years, Carrie has been a guinea pig of sorts. And his experiments usually haven’t lasted long, subbing for cornerback’s Sean Smith and D.J. Hayden.
It wasn’t until late in 2016 that Carrie got a real opportunity to show his skills without getting pulled at the slightest mistake, and he showed glimpses of promise. The potential has always been there, recording 21 passes defended over three years, but having the opportunity to start consistently without being moved worked wonders.
Through the first six weeks of this season, Carrie has proven to be capable on both the outside and inside. With a Pro Football Focus grade of 84.4, Carrie is the No. 16 cornerback in the league. On Sunday against the Chargers, Carrie allowed just 3 catches for 9 yards. The week before against the Denver Broncos, Carrie allowed just one catch for 10 yards. Through six games, Carrie has yet to allow a 100-yard game, better yet given up a touchdown.
Aside from coverage, Carrie has been used to blitz off the edge, creating several sacks for his teammates and causing confusion in the pocket. Carrie has been efficient against the run, earning a 3.9 run stop percentage grade from PFF. Carrie has recorded 31 tackles thus far on the season, without any whiffs.
If Carrie can keep up his play, his stock will have risen tremendously going into the offseason. Oakland will have a tough decision on their hands, having to pay to keep him, especially with a secondary that has been hobbled by injury and severely underperformed. With corner Sean Smith sidelined for horrible play in week 6, the idea of the team cutting him in the offseason is looking more prevalent. Rookie cornerback Gareon Conley has played just one game due to injury, and cornerback David Amerson has suffered multiple concussions. If Carrie can keep up his play, he can get the opportunity to prove he’s a lockdown corner while earning big bucks. Stay tuned to see if he’ll be doing so in Oakland.
Looking at the connection between Bill Lazor and Andy Dalton
Is Hue Jackson’s benching of DeShone Kizer the beginning of the end for him?
Steelers WR Martavis Bryant reportedly requests a trade
Power Rankings: The NFC becomes wide open with Aaron Rodgers’ injury