The NY Jets parted ways with running back Michael Carter on Tuesday, ending his tenure with the team after just two-and-a-half seasons. While Carter had undoubtedly struggled this season, he was one of the most beloved players in the Jets' locker room.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh explained on Wednesday that the Jets released Carter with the goal of giving him an opportunity to catch on with another team, as opposed to rotting on the Jets' bench as a healthy inactive.
That doesn't seem to have calmed nerves in the Jets' locker room, however. Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton spoke to reporters on Wednesday, and when asked about Carter's release, he admitted that emotions were "low" in the locker room.
Becton insisted that Carter was a "special guy" in the Jets' locker room, and while he admitted that he understands the business side of the NFL, it's clearly affected the morale of the team.
The NY Jets locker room is hurting after Michael Carter release
It's not only Becton who is "down in the dumps," as the Jets' offensive tackle told reporters on Wednesday. Carter's departure seems to have affected a number of players on the Jets' roster. He was very well-liked.
Multiple Jets players showed support for Carter on social media after he was released this week.
In fact, even in the days following his release, it seems as though Jets players aren't moving on just yet. One Jets player shouted "Shout out Mike Carter" in the background when rookie running back Israel Abanikanda was being interviewed on Wednesday.
It's clear that Carter's release significantly affected morale in the Jets locker room. Now, does that mean it was the wrong decision? Not necessarily. In fact, the move makes plenty of sense.
Carter struggled mightily in his role as the Jets' third-down back, and the team wisely decided it was time to give rookie Israel Abanikanda an opportunity. That meant Carter would either be rendered a healthy scratch or, well, this.
They decided to do right by their former fourth-round pick, and sure enough, Carter was scooped up by the Arizona Cardinals on waivers the next day. That's a better outcome for him than sitting and doing nothing on the Jets' bench.
The players don't like losing a beloved locker-room favorite, but as Becton indicated, that's the reality of this business. It's a cold world.
The Jets moved on from Michael Carter for performance-related reasons. They gave him an opportunity to find a home with a new team. Everyone wins here.