Carter expected to back up Pennington

Updated: August 24, 2004, 1:57 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Free agent quarterback Quincy Carter, released by the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 4 after allegedly testing positive in violation of the NFL substance abuse policy, on Tuesday sign a one-year contract with the New York Jets.

Quincy Carter
Carter

Financial details of the deal were not immediately available, but it is believed Carter will earn more than $500,000. Once he learns the Jets offense, Carter is expected to serve as the primary backup to starter Chad Pennington.

Several teams had inquired about Carter but most had opted to wait for a resolution of his case in which the NFL Players Association has charged that the Cowboys violated statutes of the collective bargaining agreement in releasing him. Union executive director Gene Upshaw told the Associated Press that the case will continue on, adding that part of the grievance involves potential salary loss to Carter.

The CBA stipulates that a player cannot be released solely for violating the substance abuse policy. Dallas officials have insisted they were well within their rights to cut a player who has been their starting quarterback for the past three seasons.

New York was apparently more aggressive than other teams interested in Carter, in part because they have no experienced depth at the backup spots. The Jets coaches are said to be very excited about working with Carter, but the deal is beneficial to the quarterback as well, since it will expose him to a new offensive system, something he can tout when he is in the free agent market next spring.

The projected primary backup to Pennington when training camp opened, second-year veteran Brooks Bollinger is sidelined by a sprained knee. The No. 3 QB on the depth chart is former CFL star Ricky Ray, who is in his first NFL training camp.

Basically, Carter's aim is to get back into a structured football environment, maybe get some snaps this season, and then go back into the free agent market next spring as an unrestricted player.

Carter, 26, was the Cowboys' second-round pick in the 2001 draft. In three years, Carter started 31 games and completed 507 of 902 passes, for 5,839 yards, with 29 touchdown passes and 36 interceptions.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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