March 11, 2002

Saints Sign Carter, Reed; Miss Out on Craft

Monday night saw the Saints finalize the signings CB Dale Carter and his half brother WR Jake Reed, both of whom spent the 2001 season with the Minnesota Vikings.

Meanwhile the Jaguars matched the Saints' offer for CB Jason Craft, and plan to make him their starting cornerback this season.

Carter, 6'1", 188 pounds, played only half the season, but excelled despite being somewhat out of football shape. Considered a risky signing because of his history, (Carter missed the 2000 season because of a drug policy suspension), the Saints signed Carter's half-brother Jake Reed as well.

Reed, 6'3", 213 pounds, who spent the 2000 season as a Saint before returning to his long-time team the Vikings, brings veteran experience and maturity to the team as well as his roommate, Carter. Reed broke his leg in his previous stint with the Saints and missed most of the season, but has since improved his quickness and had no more injury problems. Reed, 34, is expected to give off-field guidance and support to Carter, 32, and was a key element in the Saints' agreement to sign both of them.

After last season's debacle with the signing of Albert Connell, the Saints are not ready to have more problems with an expensive free agent signing, and are counting on Reed to keep his little brother in line.

The Jacksonville Jaguars successfully renegotiated the contract of star DE Tony Brackens to make room for CB Jason Craft, and then matched the three-year, $3.525 million contract that the Saints had posted.

The Saints will not have to give up their 2002 5th round pick, but lose out on landing 5'10, 180-pound Craft, who they had planned on making their top nickel back behind Dale Carter and Fred Thomas.

The Jaguars will start Fernando Bryant and Craft at cornerback this season.

While WR Jake Reed signed a one-year minimum salary contract, his younger half-brother Dale Carter signed a multi-year deal averaging $4-$5 million per year with a $3 million deferred signing bonus.

That deferred clause offers the Saints a modicum of risk management, as they will not have to pay dearly for Carter should any immediate problems arise. That clause is almost certainly a result of Carter's shady past and the Saints' 2001 experience with WR Albert Connell, who cost the Saints a couple million dollars, rarely played well and caused a load of locker room troubles. Carter has been living with Reed, a veteran respect for his top-class character, and has been making big strides in turning his life around.

Carter and Reed, both represented by the same agent, had also met with Dallas before signing with the Saints.

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