The status of Buffalo Bills free agent defensive lineman Alex Carrington currently remains in limbo following his visits with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders, and now one has to wonder what kind of money he is looking for at this point.
First, it’s important to remember that Carrington only played in three games last season before tearing a quad muscle that ended up putting him out for the entire year. Prior to the injury, he started all of nine games for the Bills since being drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In the 44 games that he’s played in, he’s registered 53 total tackles, four sacks and 6 defensed passes.
None of the above equates to him reasonably asking for much more than the minimum.
Much like former Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood, Carrington looked like he was a square peg that was being forced to fit into a round hole with the Bills, who consistently seemed to be changing their fronts from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and back ever since he was drafted. Thanks to all of that changing, however, we now know that Carrington’s best fit is as a 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end allowed to play a lot of 3-technique. He’s not a 4-3 defensive end.
Should Carrington return to Buffalo, who should know by now how to use him, he wouldn’t be a starter as those jobs belong to defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Because of that, he’s not going to get starter money from them.
While the Raiders might could use a player like Carrington inside, they’re likely not wanting to promise him a starting job or give him decent money until after the draft. Let’s face it, if the Raiders don’t draft a quarterback in the first round, their fifth overall pick could go several different ways. That might be a little high for Aaron Donald, but, boy, he sure would fit that defense.
So back to the Steelers. One would think that if they signed Carrington he would be the starter opposite Cameron Heyward, but that’s just us speculating from the outside. It might take him some time to get acclimated to the defense, so they would be foolish to guarantee him anything but a spot on the 53 man roster.
Right now, Carrington has a ton of potential that just finished rehabbing. If I know the Steelers, they offered him a contract a little less than the one they gave nose tackle Steve McLendon nearly a year ago. That deal was for three years and totaled out at $7.25 million. It also included a $1.675 million signing bonus and a first-year base salary of $900,000. Oh, and he wasn’t coming off of a season-ending injury.
So based on the above, I could see Carrington being offered a three-year, $6 million contract from the Steelers with a $1.5 million signing bonus and a first year base salary of $730,000, which is the minimum for his accrued seasons. That would produce a $1.23 million cap charge in 2014 and would certainly fit their budget.
If I’m close, then that’s why Carrington decided to leave without signing so that he could shop that deal around to other teams. We’ll see whether or not he returns.
Would you pay Carrington more than a $2 million yearly average based on everything you currently know about him? Will another team?