Bombers Interested in Free Agent Duron Carter

Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press reported Tuesday afternoon that the Bombers have expressed interest in free agent wide receiver Duron Carter.

Carter, 24, appeared in 27 games with the Montreal Alouettes during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, recording a combined 1,939 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Carter’s CFL success earned him a three-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts in February of last year. Cut in training camp, Carter spent the entire 2015 season on the Colts’ practice roster. As a reserve contract offer was not made by the Colts after the season, Carter is now a free agent on both sides of the border.

Signing Carter has the potential to be a home run acquisition for a Winnipeg team that has lacked offensive firepower in recent years. At 6’5, Carter is exceptionally difficult for opposing defences to match-up against and would provide new offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice with the type of elite weapon not many CFL offences possess. Carter’s addition would also allow the Bombers’ current boundary wide receiver Darvin Adams to move into the slot, replacing pending free agent Nick Moore.

From an off-field perspective, Carter would provide a boost for the club’s depleted image. Mired in an awful era of perpetual losing, signing the son of NFL Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter would go a long way to improving the Bombers’ relations with its local fan base. This is particularly the case considering that the province of Manitoba has always been a hotbed of support for the Minnesota Vikings, the team with which Cris Carter spent 12 of his 15 NFL seasons.

Even with the positives of signing Carter in mind, however, there’s no arguing that it’s always more fundamentally sound for CFL teams to find starters through scouting rather than free agency. American rookies are inexpensive and often inexperienced enough that they can be developed specifically to fit the scheme of whichever team signs them. With that said, the Bombers have struggled to find an impactful rookie receiver in recent years. Of the four rookie pass catchers the Bombers started in 2015, Justin Veltung produced the most receiving yardage with 189 yards. The remaining three players –Kevin Cone, Jhomo Gordon, and Mike Willie — recorded a paltry 42 yards combined.

There’s no guaranteeing that Carter will be in a rush to return north, of course, but unless he’s able to crack an NFL team’s 53-man roster, his earning potential is significantly higher in the CFL. An entire season spent on an NFL practice roster pays in the neighborhood of $100,000 ($6,300 over 16 weeks). Should he come north, Carter would sign a deal similar in value to that of B.C.’s Emmanuel Arceneaux worth a reported $230,000 per season.

High-priced free agent signings haven’t paid off very well for the Bombers over the past two seasons — see Picard, Dominic and Moore, Nick — but if Carter is able to return to his 2014 form next season, the Bombers would be wise to pay him top dollar.

Stay tuned.

John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk

Twitter: @BlueBomberTalk


John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.