Lorenzo Carter, perpetually poised as the Giants’ edge rusher of the future during his four seasons in New York, is now officially part of the team’s past.
The 2018 third-round pick had five sacks in his last four games for the Giants in 2021, but that still wasn’t enough for the team to bring him back. He instead agreed to a one-year deal with the Falcons as a free agent on Monday, as first reported by NFL Network. The move returns the linebacker from the University of Georgia to his home state on a prove-it deal after his career with the Giants never developed as hoped.
“It’s hard for me to even put in words how blessed I am to have been a part of the New York Football Giants family these past four years,” Carter wrote in an Instagram farewell on Sunday. “Leaving home as a young man & coming to NY taught me so much about not just myself, but opened my eyes to the world as a whole and that’s something I will never forget.”
Carter posted 4.0 sacks and then 4.5 in his first two seasons with the Giants. He tore his Achilles early in the 2020 season and came back to start 14 games in 2021. He did not record his first sack of 2021 until Week 14 when he had two against the Cowboys, followed by one in each of the final three games. He finished the season with only eight quarterback hits despite playing a robust 617 defensive snaps.
The Falcons undoubtedly hold the same hopes for Carter that the Giants did over their four years together, that he can channel his potential and develop into a consistent pass rusher. The Falcons were last in the NFL with 17 team sacks in 2021.
Carter arrived with the Giants as part of former general manager Dave Gettleman’s first draft class. His departure leaves only Saquon Barkley remaining on the team from that year’s selections, with second-round pick Will Hernandez not expected back in free agency and B.J. Hill, Kyle Lauletta, R.J. McIntosh and supplemental pick Sam Beal already gone.
The Giants have not addressed outside linebacker in this free-agency period but figure to focus on it in the upcoming draft. Second-year players Azeez Ojulari, Quincy Roche and Elerson Smith represent the top of the current depth chart at the position.