Just as Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds is in the final year of his contract this season, Chris Carter will be entering his next season. With the status of both Worilds and LaMarr Woodley currently up in the air for 2014, swinging and missing completely with Carter could further hurt the team at the outside linebacker position when it comes to depth for next season.
Carter has played all of two snaps on defense so far this season and with Woodley now out for the final two games, it will be interesting to see just how much playing time he gets. Both Worilds and rookie Jarvis Jones will likely need a few plays off and Carter must take advantage of any playing time that he gets should that happen.
In 2012, Carter started the first three games of the season on the right side as Worilds and James Harrison were both slowed by injuries. To put it bluntly, he failed the test and as a result only played one more snap on defense the remainder of the season. If the Steelers thought after the 2012 season that Carter hadn’t yet reached his ceiling, they might not have spent a first round draft pick on Jones last April.
By the time the draft rolls around, the Steelers will undoubtedly draft another outside linebacker and possibly even two, just as they did in 2010 when they drafted Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson. It would be nice if Carter could serve as immediate depth next season while those one or two draft picks develop, but at this point there’s nothing to suggest that he’ll be able to. Maybe he can change that opinion in these final two games.