Less than a week after being drafted by the Eagles, Jalen Carter is the first first-round pick to sign his rookie contract, the team announced. Carter is set to earn $21,806,184 million on a four-year, fully guaranteed deal, according to ESPN.
Carter was the ninth overall pick and the fourth defensive player selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was still a top-10 pick despite recent misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing. The charges revolved around a single-car accident that killed former Georgia football player Devin Willock, 20, and recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy, 24.
A resolution was reached in March when Carter entered into a deal with Athens-Clarke County solicitors, where he pled no contest. Carter avoided jail time, but he did receive 12 months of probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service and a driving course.
While the pick received some praise, the Eagles also fielded questions about the pick given Carter’s current legal situation.
“Obviously, that’s part of what we’re talking about. We’ve got to develop the people. We’ve got to develop the player,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said. “I think for us, we take that part seriously. We think that it’s important that not only are we caring about people as players, but we want to care about the people.
“We’re going to wrap our arms around him and do the best we can to help him and understand — that was a tragic night. It was a tragic night, and we’re sorry for the loss to those families, and we’re not trying to downplay that situation, but obviously we’ve got to get to work.”
A dominant defensive tackle in college, Carter played an integral role in Georgia capturing the last two national championships. In Philadelphia, he will be reunited with former Bulldogs edge rusher Nolan Smith, who was selected with the 30th overall pick and cornerback Kelee Ringo, taken in Round 4.
The duo joins a talented Eagles defense that also includes veteran defensive linemen Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox and defensive backs Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Carter will be tasked with helping replace Javon Hargrave, who signed a multiyear deal with the 49ers this offseason after recording 11 sacks last season.