As of this past Tuesday, Derek Carr has been released by the Las Vegas Raiders. The move was made before the Feb. 15 deadline to avoid the $40.4 million in guaranteed money he would’ve owed in his previous contract. This is new territory for Carr as he is now a free agent for the first time in his career. He will surely be one of the top free agents on the market this off-season. So the big question is where will he go next? Let’s discuss this.
New Orleans Saints
The first team that should be in the running for Derek Carr is the New Orleans Saints. As of now, the only quarterback the Saints have on their roster heading into the 2023 season is Jameis Winston. However, there are many rumors that Winston will want to move on from the Saints this offseason. So what does this mean for New Orleans as far as Derek Carr?
Well, the Saints are in a tough spot considering they are projected to be $37 million over the cap space for 2023. However, that should not stop New Orleans from pursuing Carr. The quarterback job for the Saints is wide open as far as I’m concerned. The Saints need stability at the quarterback position and I think Derek Carr would provide that.
While Carr might not have brought vast amounts of success to the Raiders, a fresh start in New Orleans might be helpful for him. Carr finished 2022 with 3,522 passing yards and 24 touchdowns but he also tied his career high in interceptions with 14. Luckily the Saints have a young star receiver in Chris Olave and a veteran presence in Jarvis Landry. New Orleans would be a promising avenue for Carr should he decide to go to the Saints.
New York Jets
Next up we have the New York Jets who have plenty of quarterbacks on their roster but not enough production. From Mike White to Joe Flacco to Zach Wilson, the Jets have been through the quarterback carousel. So again, where does Derek Carr fit into this situation?
Well, the Jets might have won more games than usual in 2022 but they still were nowhere near what they wanted to be. The Jets are young and inexperienced but they have pieces that could lead to a bright future. Garrett Wilson just won offensive rookie of the year and Sauce Gardener defensive rookie of the year but does that have enough appeal for Carr?
The Jets are likely going to be heavy contenders for Aaron Rodgers but that will require sacrificing picks. Going after Carr and not giving up draft picks could be the better route. If Carr is willing to work with a team on the rise, the Jets are a solid place for Carr to land.
Another suitor that makes sense for Derek Carr is the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts moved on from Carson Wentz to make room for Matt Ryan. The Matt Ryan project then failed and in stepped Sam Ehlinger. When Ehlinger failed, Nick Foles was given a shot and that failed as well. The Colts’ quarterback situation puts them in a predicament for 2023.
Cutting Matt Ryan would save Indy $17.2 million but they still have to eat $18 million. If the Colts are not ready to commit to Ehlinger, Carr could be the answer if they can work out the cap space. I do not think there is much appeal to having Jonathan Taylor at running back and a receiving core that is “good enough”. Carr will want the situation to be perfect for him and the Colts still have questions to answer before moving pieces for Carr.
Final Thoughts On Derek Carr Sweepstakes
Derek Carr is in a better situation after being released versus traded. He has the freedom to visit who he wants and decide what he wants when he wants. Carr might not have the playoff success of Patrick Mahomes or even Russell Wilson from his days in Seattle but he is a solid quarterback.
Carr just needs a fresh start and I think there are going to be plenty of teams who could use Carr. The only situation he should want is a team who will start him right away. Carr needs the right receiving core and the trust of an organization and he could thrive. Only time will tell where Carr decided to go but there are plenty of spots that make sense for Carr as his next destination.