The offseason is still a ways away, but there might already be one team on the San Francisco 49ers radar. Jason LaCanfora is reporting the 49ers, Seahawks and Colts are among several teams that could be interested in pursuing wide receiver Duron Carter, currently playing with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
Carter is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter. The younger Carter ended up in the CFL because of numerous off-field issues in college. He has spent two seasons in the CFL, and according to LaCanfora, he has matured, but remains a bit high maintenance. This is all from anonymous sources, so you have to take this kind of information with a serious grain of salt.
In two seasons in the CFL, Carter has emerged as a very solid wide receiver. In his first season, he had 49 receptions for 909 yards and five touchdowns. In his ongoing second season, he has 75 receptions for 1,030 yards and seven touchdowns.
LaCanfora reported many view the Colts as a favorite for a few reasons:
Veteran receiver Reggie Wayne is a free agent at season's end, the team has been willing to gamble on receivers with red flags and character issues several times - with minimal success - but aggressive young general manager Ryan Grigson is not afraid to take chances, he has extensive connections in the CFL (he worked for three years for Saskatchewan of the CFL) and the Colts have been closely monitoring Carter for quite some time.
The 49ers do have one connection with Montreal. Former quarterback Jeff Garcia is the quarterback coach up there. I don't think that will matter, but it's one interesting connection. Teams are not commenting on Carter at this point because the NFL has not yet provided the official personnel notice about CFL free agents. That will happen eventually, and then the pursuit will be on later this winter/spring.
The 49ers will head into the offseason with Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd potentially hitting free agency. Carter is 6'5, 205 pounds, so size is certainly not an issue. He can do a little bit of everything, and it should be no surprise the Alouettes GM was effusive in his praise. It is also worth noting this comment came before the big numbers he is putting up this season:
"Every NFL team should be after Cris Carter's son. [Montreal wide receiver] Duron Carter is a phenomenal athlete. He's got every measurable. He's fast, 6-foot-4, can be a punt returner in the NFL with his size, can run with the ball, has got tremendous body control. When he got on the field last year for us he was just phenomenal. And hopefully he stays healthy this year. He'll be a highly, highly sought after, Cam Wake kind of guy. This is Duron's second year, and another year is going to be great for him. But this guy can go in and be a one or two guy [first or second receiver]. He is phenomenal. He can't finish in the CFL season and then go to NFL in 2014, but teams could sign him to a futures deal for 2015.''