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The New York Giants won two Super Bowls largely on the strength of their pass rush. Clearly, pass-rushers are at a premium in the NFL.
That makes it all the more surprising that Andre Carter is still available at this point in free agency.
A year after racking up 10 sacks, Carter is still an unsigned free agent due to a quadriceps tear he suffered towards the end of the 2011 season.
When healthy, Carter is one of the better pass-rushers in the NFL, and he is certainly the best remaining one available. In two of his last three seasons, he has managed 10 or more sacks.
Two things are crucial when examining Carter as a potential signing.
First, Carter needs to play in a 4-3 scheme. Twice in his career he was forced into a 3-4 defense, and he struggled mightily. He is at his best with his hand on the ground, so Carter's suitors should be limited to 4-3 teams.
Second and just as important, any potential suitor needs to be confident that the 33-year-old Carter can heal from his quadriceps tear. Players who are Carter's age do not always heal well, which could limit his ability to come back at a high level.
If these two criteria are met, though, some team will find themselves with a top-tier pass-rusher who will make a major impact in improving a defense.
Premier pass-rushers are rarely available in free agency, which makes Carter the top remaining free agent available.