Carriker, a nine-year veteran of the league has not seen the playing field since week two of the 2012 season. Three surgeries later on his right quadriceps, he is hopeful that the Redskins will retain him and give him another chance.
It's only February and camp is a long ways away," Carriker said. "Am I happy I've progressed and am better? Yes. But as a competitor I'm never where I want to be. I know I've progressed and progressed quite a bit. I have a lot of work to do, but I have a lot of time to do it.His positive attitude and perseverance still might not be enough to keep him in Washington, as his $6.5 million salary cap hit makes him likely to either take a pay cut or be cut. The 29-year-old defensive end was drafted in the first round by the Saint Louis Rams in 2007. He had played in all but one game since his rookie year until the dreadful week two in 2012.
Landing in Washington in 2010, in two years he accumulated 71 combined tackles, seven sacks and one fumble recovery. An instant fan favorite, Carriker was solid, playing in all 32 games in 2010 and 2011 and brought a strong inside presence to the defense, both as a run stuffer and a pocket collapser.
|Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons|
If the Redskins do cut Carriker, they would save $3 million in cap space. According to HogsHaven.com, the team has survived the salary cap issues from prior years and are expected to have $27-$28 million to work with before any cuts are made. After re-signing cornerback DeAngelo Hall and defensive end Chris Baker already this off-season, the team is primarily turning their focus to the possibility of putting the franchise tag on linebacker Brian Orakpo, which would cost nearly $11.5 million, according to the Washington Post.
Even with the signings and the talks with Orakpo, the Redskins will still have quite a bit of money for free agency and re-signing of their veteran players. The question for Washington would be if they want to retain Carriker, who actually restructured his contract in March of last year to help the team stay under the cap.
As noble as the gesture seems, Carriker would count for $6.5 million against the cap for 2014. For a player who has missed the last 30 regular season games, will the Redskins keep him? They could still cut him and then re-sign him to a lower contract, as they did last year with DeAngelo Hall. Or they could just let him go and use the money for other players. Carriker is not apparently not worried.
I understand how the NFL works. [But] there's no doubt in my mind they want me around. They like a lot of things about me. They know I can play. They know I know the defense very well. Even if you bring a guy in, unless you see him in your exact scheme it's hard to know if a guy will work. They know I can do it. Plus I've been battling every day for a year and a half. I think they like and respect that. They've also seen the progress.Carriker also said that this is the first time in his career that he has looked forward to training camp. On the injured reserve list for the entire 2013 season and a majority of the 2012 season, he is eager to return.
It can be frustrating. It can get you upset and get you down. But when the hiccups happened I'd be mad and down, but give me 48 hours and I felt like a caged tiger at the zoo waiting for the door to open.In the next few weeks, the picture will be clearer for the veteran defensive end, but with his attitude and optimism and with advances in his recovery, Carriker will hopefully be wearing the burgundy and gold come this September.
For more NFL Injury News, follow me on Twitter: @alewnes7