Bears reportedly sign elite specialist DeAndre Carter
Gregory Fisher - USA Today Sports

Bears reportedly sign elite specialist DeAndre Carter

by - Senior Writer -

Time sure flies when you are having fun, and the Chicago Bears have been having a ton of fun during their OTAs. With the final day of OTAs less than 24 hours away, all eyes are about to shift to training camp as the Bears continue to prepare for the regular season.

With that said, Ryan Poles has made an interesting addition and one that could provide a significant boost for the Bears as they landed return specialist DeAndre Carter. A wide receiver by trade, Carter has made a name for himself as a return specialist and will now be joining the organization that once had the best return man in the game, Devin Hester.

Given the new kickoff rules coming to the league in 2024, which intend to bring more returns back into the mix, having a reliable return specialist could be crucial this season as teams will be looking to flip the field. If the name sounds familiar, that is because Carter is in his second stint with the Bears, initially playing for them in 2020. It's always nice when old friends return home, as Carter is getting a second crack with this team.

During his time with Chicago, Carter struggled to get on the field, as he appeared in just four games before being put on waivers. He was then claimed by the Houston Texans before they parted ways with him midseason. The main reason Carter was added to the roster was to take over the return duties after Tarik Cohen was lost for the season with an injury. Since then, the return game has been less than adequate, so perhaps this is the move to get them back in the swing of things.

Although his time in Chicago didn't go as planned, he seems to have found his groove since leaving, and a lot of that doesn't even come from the return aspect. For example, Carter caught 46 passes, 538 receiving yards, and scored three touchdowns for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022. Why is that significant? Well, his WR coach in 2022 was Chris Beatty, who is now the WR coach with the Bears. Having that chemistry alone is huge, as Beatty was able to get the most out of Carter and will be looking to do that again.

With players like Velus Jones, Dante Pettis, and Tyler Scott among others still in the WR room, adding Carter to the mix only intensifies the competition. This position group will be a hotbed of competition all summer, and the return of Carter is viewed by many fans as a chance to revitalize the return game. However, they also have Jones for that, and he is more than capable of returning kicks should he have the opportunity.

Instead, Carter brings with him a lot of speed, and adding him to an offense that already has a lot of speed can only be good for Caleb Williams. With DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, and Rome Odunze expected to be the team's top three WRs once the season begins, the bottom half of the WR depth chart is where the real question comes in, and Carter is only adding to those questions.

Scott showed a ton of promise as a rookie last season, Pettis is capable of making big plays, and Jones has the breakaway speed you look for in a deep threat. In other words, the bottom half of the Bears WR room brings different strengths to the table, which will only improve the competition aspect.

Even if Carter is nothing more than a return man at best, there is a handful of players on this team that should be on notice once camp breaks. This is a player who does one thing very well, and it is a thing that several teams have needed to improve since the kickoff rules changed a few seasons ago. These are the types of moves the Bears are expected to make from now until the end of training camp, and when those moves do happen, it's always good to look at the positives more so than the negatives.

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