Lorenzo Carter ruptured his Achilles tendon Sunday, and is out for the season, leaving a void in the NY Giants defense
The Giants announced Monday afternoon that Carter will undergo surgery in the coming days to repair the injury.
Carter was in the midst of his strongest start to a season in his three-year career, producing 14 total tackles, one sack, four hurries, and eight total pressures on the quarterback. Perhaps where Carter was making the most significant strides was against the run, where he made 10 run stops in four-plus games and was given a 71.5 run-defense grade by Pro Football Focus.
NY Giants RB Devonta Freeman emerged as a focal point against the Dallas Cowboys, but Markus Golden and Daniel Jones were disappointing in 37-34 loss.
Losing Carter for the final 11 games of the season creates a desperate situation for the Giants, because Oshane Ximines was placed on injured reserve last Friday. David Mayo is eligible to return from injured reserve as early as this week, and the veteran would certainly provide a boost. However, there’s a chance the Giants could still go shopping in free agency for Carter’s replacement.
Here’s a look at the best options currently on the roster, and in free agency to replace Carter:
Golden saw his most extensive playing time of the season Sunday, in place of Ximines, but his performance was more of a reminder of why his role was diminished this season.
Through five games, Golden has played just 124 total snaps, produced seven total tackles, one sack, seven hurries, and 10 quarterback pressures.
The Giants’ most accomplished pass-rusher, Golden produced 10 sacks last season and will likely move to the top of the Giants’ pass-rush rotation opposite Kyler Fackrell.
If the Giants don’t dip into the free agent market, Brown, chosen in the sixth-round of April’s NFL Draft out of Penn State could vault up the depth chart.
An athletic prospect with the ability to play inside linebacker or rush the passer, Brown has appeared in 28 snaps, 26 of them coming Sunday.
Pro Football Focus gives Brown a 60.0 overall grade, but he could be given the chance to take meaningful snaps rushing the passer moving forward.
Crowder has seen the most extensive playing time of the Giants’ three rookie linebackers, appearing in 84 total snaps, but has spent most of his time in pass coverage.
The seventh-round rookie out of Georgia has nine total tackles, two run stops and opposing quarterbacks have a 93.2 passer rating when targeting him.
If the Giants don’t go shopping in free agency, Crowder could see his role continue to expand.
Wake, 38, is a five-time Pro Bowler and among the most accomplished pass rushers remaining available in free agency.
Originally signed by the NY Giants as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State back in 2005, but was released following minicamp that year. He went on to produce 100 career sacks over his 15-year career, including 2.5 sacks in the season-opener against the Cleveland Browns as a member of the Tennessee Titans last season.
Wake suffered a season-ending knee injury last November, and would need to prove he’s both healthy and still able to play if the Giants called.
Matt Lombardo is the site expert for GMenHQ, and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday for FanSided. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL.