Fact is, I'm not really sure what kind of player Carter will turn into. Usually, a center is a player who sets up other players and is typically the strongest defensive player on a particular line. Can you say these things about Jeff Carter? He's certainly a different type of center, with a transcedent shot when he uses it and improved puck skills. But you couldn't call him an elite passer. Remember: the Flyer got Kyle Calder because they thought he'd blend in well with Carter. How'd that work out? I'm glad they signed him, especially after watching the absolute tear he went on after Richards got hurt last year, but you wonder what type of player he'll become.
Still and all, the right thing to do by Paul Holmgren. If Carter doesn't pan out as a consistent top 6 forward, it's only a 3-year deal. If he does, well, then hopefully the cap is high enough to deal with it.