We’re in the depths of the offseason here at The Falcoholic, and there has been little to nothing in the way of interesting news in ages. So, we’ll have to make some content of our own in the meantime. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a new Player Profile series where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
After taking a look at the projected starters, we now turn our attention to the depth on the Falcons’ roster. Today, I’ll be discussing G James Carpenter—a nine-year veteran on the offensive line who is hoping to retain his starting job after struggling in 2019.
G James Carpenter
Contract: $5.13M cap hit in 2020, under contract through 2022 ($5.23M APY)
Career Production: 114 games played, 108 games started | 61.0 overall PFF grade | 15 holding penalties, 21 false starts, 40 total penalties | 3 fumble recoveries
2019 Production: 11 games played, 11 games started | 45.3 overall PFF grade | 4 holding penalties, 1 false start, 6 total penalties | 4 sacks allowed
James Carpenter has had a long and successful career as an NFL offensive lineman since he was drafted in the first round by the Seahawks all the way back in 2011. Initially starting as a right tackle in his rookie year, Carpenter quickly made the switch to left guard in 2012 and made that position his home. He played 4 seasons with Seattle, starting the majority of games there, before signing a 4-year deal with the Jets when he hit free agency.
Carpenter would have his best seasons in New York, posting strong PFF grades of 75.7 in 2015 and 76.2 in 2016. He began to slow down a bit from 2017-2018, and was not re-signed by the Jets heading into the 2019 season. Thomas Dimitroff took the opportunity to add him to the Falcons on a lucrative 4-year deal, hoping Carpenter would regain his former success on a better overall team. Carpenter performed well enough in camp to be given the starting left guard role heading into Week 1.
Unfortunately, things did not go as well as Dimitroff hoped. Carpenter struggled out of the gate in Atlanta and then dealt with multiple injuries over the course of the season, missing 5 games in total. His PFF grade of 45.3 was the lowest of his career, and Carpenter also allowed 4 sacks and committed 7 penalties in just 11 games. Carpenter’s size and athleticism are two major bonuses for him, even on the other side of age 30, but he was routinely bullied on the inside as both a run blocker and pass protector.
After a poor first season in Atlanta, Carpenter still has a solid chance of retaining his starting job heading into 2020. He’ll face stiff competition from fellow veteran Jamon Brown—who has the advantage of age and played better in 2019—recent free agent addition Justin McCray, and rookie third-rounder Matt Hennessy. Carpenter’s extensive experience could wind up being the deciding factor for him in a limited offseason.
Projection: James Carpenter will compete with several other players for the starting left guard job in training camp. While he’s not the favorite, Carpenter does have the most experience at the position and has several very good seasons under his belt. With the amount of guaranteed money on his deal, however, Carpenter’s roster spot is safe in 2020.