There were expected to be several teams vying for the services of Derek Carr following the Las Vegas Raiders‘ change at quarterback. The New Orleans Saints have become the first team to make a genuine play for him. On Tuesday afternoon, NFL insider Ian Rapoport Tweeted that the Saints have invited Carr for a visit. As of this publication, he’s expected in New Orleans on Wednesday to meet with the Saints.
Are the Saints and Derek Carr a fit?
It makes sense that New Orleans would covet Carr. They have had instability at the quarterback position since Drew Brees’ retirement. Also, their head coach, Dennis Allen, led the Raiders when Oakland drafted Carr in 2014. According to reports, the Raiders would only let Carr meet with a team if they had already agreed on acceptable trade terms. So, it’s safe to assume the Raiders and Saints have a good idea what the trade will look like. That also means Carr, who has a no-trade clause, will agree to play for New Orleans. Again, that’s assuming a deal is consummated at some point.
The Saints are a mess at quarterback…Â
However, the Saints find themselves in a tough position. They still have former starting quarterback Jameis Winston on their roster. Still, they are over $57 million over the cap for the 2023 season. How would they be able to afford Carr, who is set to make $32.9 million in 2023? Even if the Saints cut every single player on their roster who had a positive cap number, they would only be able to save less than half their cap deficit.
General manager Mickey Loomis and the Saints front office have been passing the buck for years now. At some point, they will have to pay the piper. Perhaps sending a player to Las Vegas in a deal for Carrâ€”someone making a lot of money like CB Marshon Lattimore, DE Cam Jordan, or RT Ryan Ramczykâ€”would help them get to where they need to be. The Raiders have the cap space to make that happen.
Can the Saints afford a trade? What would the Raiders get?
Finally, assuming that trade compensation has already been agreed upon, it is not the Raiders’ problem to figure out how the Saints can afford Carr under the cap. The Saints traded for Denver’s first-round pick by sending former coach Sean Payton to the Broncos. However, this trade was made after the NFL’s trade deadline of November 1, meaning it would not become official until the new league year begins March 15. Therefore, that first-rounder would not be used by the Saints to acquire Carr. The Saints do have pick No. 40 early in the second round, which seems a more likely part of the trade package.
Carr would finally “have a defense”
New Orleans would seem to be a reasonable destination for Carr. They have a solid defense and explosive offensive weapons like Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave, and Michael Thomas. Plus, they must know that if they don’t get Carr, the other three teams in their division could make a play for him. Let’s not forget that the entire NFC South is in need of an immediate quarterback upgrade. Carr has the right to refuse any trade and just force the Raiders to cut him. At the same time, he risks losing all the money remaining on his current contract. He may wish to stay with the relative security of the deal he has now by agreeing to be traded to a place where he feels comfortable. The Saints will try to persuade him to do just that.
*Top Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images