Sin City to The Big Easy? It’s possible for Derek Carr, who will be playing in a different uniform than the Raiders’ in 2023. It’s been reported that the Saints are considered the front runners for the veteran’s services, and Las Vegas has permitted him to speak with New Orleans.
According to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed, the organizations have developed a “framework for a trade.” It makes sense on paper. The Saints have absolutely no future at the position. Jameis Winston was an exciting project before Sean Payton packed his bags to ditch the inevitable rebuild, but without a great offensive mind leading him, he’s the same guy he was in Tampa Bay.
Moreover, it makes sense for Derek Carr. He was a connection to current Saints head coach Dennis Allen, who was the Raiders head coach in 2014 when the team drafted Carr. In that same breath, New Orleans’ offense has a bevy of attractive pieces — Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave, and a solid offensive line.
However, there are a ton of roadblocks. Carr’s contract and the Saints’ salary cap do not mesh. According to Spotrac, the team is $57.3M over the cap, and Carr has three years remaining on his deal with $115.3 in cash due, per OverTheCap. And he doesn’t want to rework his contract via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, which makes sense. You wouldn’t want to make less money, either.
All of this is a moot point, though. Carr has a no-trade clause and can refuse to sign off on any trade the Raiders present. If Carr is unwilling to rework his contract and the Raiders find no other partners, they must release him before Feb. 15, or his remaining salary becomes guaranteed. All signs point to the Raiders releasing him.
At that point, Carr could sign with the Saints without New Orleans giving up any assets in a potential trade. He could also visit any other team to cast a wider free agent net. If the Saints landed Derek Carr, it might make them favorites to win the NFC South in 2023; that’s how bad the division is.
The Falcons would stand to benefit in some way, though. Regardless of how the Saints were to hypothetically acquire Carr, New Orleans isn’t going to contend for Super Bowls with their roster. It’s filled with overpriced, bloated contracts — a similar situation Atlanta found itself in at the end of the former regime’s tenure.
The Saints have kicked the can down the road for years as the organization pushed for one more championship with Sean Payton and Drew Brees, but that never came to fruition. And soon, they will have to pay the piper. In an ideal world, the Saints would have to send the Raiders assets to acquire Carr at his current deal. The Falcons’ rivals would be even deeper in financial ruin with an average passer on an overpaid contract.
If you’re a Falcons fan and aren’t sure how to feel about this potential match, just waltz on over to any Saints social media page to see how New Orleans fans are reacting. There’s your answer.
Photographer: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire Derek Carr
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