Nov 10, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Bruce Carter (54) during the first quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Is This Bruce Carter’s Last Season In Dallas?

Some might claim Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter took one step forward and two steps back in his development last season. Despite recording career highs in every statical category (including games played), Carter was also benched for two games last year after being repeatedly burned in coverage. It can be argued that Carter’s entire professional career so far has been a giant step backwards. But can he do enough in 2014 to earn a new contract in Dallas?

After suffering an ACL injury in his last season at North Carolina, Carter dropped to the Cowboys in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft after being projected as a top-15 pick. But the rookie missed the entire offseason program, training camp and the first six weeks of the regular season while recovering from his knee injury, essentially making his first year a wash.

In his second season, the Cowboys started to show concerns about Carter’s abilities. During the offseason, the team signed free agent Dan Connor as insurance at the position. They also would have replaced Carter via the draft that year if the team hadn’t lost their second round pick in the Morris Claiborne trade. According to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the team would have drafted linebacker Bobby Wagner with that traded pick, whom now plays for the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.

Eventually, Carter won the starting role over Connor but he suffered a dislocated elbow in late November that ended his sophomore season early after racking up 70 tackles in 11 starts. In 2013, Carter recorded 96 tackles and the first two sacks of his short career. And he filled-in admirably when the Cowboys lost their defensive leader in linebacker Sean Lee at the end of the season.

But Carter is entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2014. And it is unknown whether Dallas will opt to re-sign him. But according to what Jones told the Dallas Morning News last month, he believes Carter can still be a great player.

“There’s an old adage, if you’ve seen him do it a few times, you know they can do it at least and you go from there. We know (Carter) can do what this defense calls for and be outstanding. We have some real reasons to be excited about him and certainly he’d be the first to say that he had some things that he’d like to take back. Overall, he’s got a future here … and that’s a positive. It’s not a condition, he’s going to become more of a pro and more understanding about the kind of commitment and the kind of detail and preparation it takes and he’ll be a lot better for it. He’s got the other stuff that nobody can coach, and that is speed and physical assets.”

But do you believe Carter will actually live up to his second round billing this season? Does he have a future in Dallas? Place your vote below and feel free to explain your pick in our comments section.

Is This Bruce Carter's Last Season In Dallas?

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Tags: Bruce Carter Dallas Cowboys

  • Alan Ronco

    I still believe he gets better if the pass rush gets better, our corners didn’t look great either, but when the quarterbacks have all day to throw you can’t cover that long!! Fix the defensive line and we will look better in other positions!!

  • David

    Carter needs to have a very good to great year and then sign a reasonable contract if he will be on the roster next year. If both dont happen then I would guess he will not be back.

  • Draftmane

    Ryan Shazier!

  • PaulTX

    Carter did well in the 3-4. I think he just had problems adjusting to the scheme change same as Carr and Mo. I expect much better play from him this season.

  • Old Frog

    A piece of me hopes the “Carter Experiment” fails because I want the FO to stop wasting top picks on injured players because they hope they can recover and play at a high level. Let’s draft healthy players who are already playing at a high level.

    • Earl Robertson


  • Fred G Samford

    One thing that you can not teach is speed. I think one thing Dallas should have done is promote Matt Eberflus to Defense Coordinator Assist and hired a new 4-3 linebacker coach. As we do with players we need to start doing with our coaches. As we did in the 90, building from within. We had Dave Wannstedt 89-92, Butch Davis (linebacker coach) 94, Dave Campo 95-99, and then the great Mike Zimmer THAT BILL PARCEL LET GO (ONE BAD MOVE FROM A SMART MAN). Then the switch to the 3-4 (ONE BAD MOVE FROM A SMART MAN (BP). Move the great coach up and teaching them how to defense coordinators. Eberflus will have the ability to run both the 3-4 and 4-3. Which could make our defense even better. If your going to do it with your player, you should do it for your coaches. As much as I HATE THE STEELERS they have a system that works and they stick with it. They keep there head coach for years. With what Jason Garrett is doing with the rebuilding or whatever you want to call it. At least let him play with the toys that he is bring in for at least 3 more years.