Michael Carter alludes to ‘behind the scenes’ drama leading to Jets release

Former Jets running back Michael Carter didn’t want to go into too much detail about his departure from New York after his first official day as a member of the Arizona Cardinals. 

He acknowledged that it wasn’t too much of a surprise that he was released from the Jets,  but wouldn’t say if he requested the move. 

Carter, the Jets fourth-round pick in 2021, was released on Tuesday and claimed by the Cardinals off waivers on Wednesday. 

“I think there is a lot that went on behind the scenes that led me to not be surprised,” Carter said Thursday about the move. “It’s just a blessing to be here and I love my teammates back in New York. Those are my brothers and they know that, so what is understood doesn’t need to be explained and they got my number. 

“Those are my guys, I love them.” 

When he was asked if he had asked the Jets front office to release him Carter replied: “I’d rather not answer that question.”

Michael Carter was released by the Jets.
Michael Carter was released by the Jets on Tuesday.

Carter’s usage by the Jets had diminished significantly since his rookie season despite still being the team’s primary third-down back.

In nine games this year, Carter had just 38 rushing yards on eight carries and 15 receptions for 68 yards. 

In Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Carter was on the field for just eight offensive snaps and ended up being benched in the third quarter after he was called for a chop block. 

The decision to cut Carter opens up opportunities for rookie Israel Abanikanda to get some live reps and head coach Robert Saleh said that the organization wanted to give Carter a fresh start somewhere else. 

The Cardinals have given the former Jet just that and he expressed his gratitude after practice. 

“I’m very grateful to be here,” Carter said. “Just the chance to have a fresh start. Somewhere I feel appreciated. I feel like we all chase that and crave that.” 

The 24-year-old back enters a Cardinals locker room that “feels like a really close group,” but it remains to be seen how he will fit into Arizona’s running back rotation. 

The Cardinals have several options at the position after James Conner returned last week after missing four games due to a knee injury and Keaontay Ingram and Emari Demercado have served as Arizona’s main No. 2s. 

Demercado has been dealing with a toe issue, which has limited him in practice this week. 

Michael Carter, now with the Cardinals, speaks with the media on Thursday.
Michael Carter, now with the Cardinals, speaks with the media on Thursday.

Carter told reporters in Arizona on Thursday that he was ready to contribute “as soon as possible.”

“I’m going to leave that to coach if I play this week … but I’m ready,” he said.