The quarterback carousel was given a kick-start Tuesday, as NewOrleans.Football reported that Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was given permission to visit with the New Orleans Saints. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones confirmed the report. The Saints are the first team to have reported interest in the 31-year-old signal-caller.
On Wednesday night, Carr met with Saint head coach Dennis Allen, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and other members of the team's brass for dinner at Ralph's on the Park in New Orleans, according to NewOrleans.Football's Nick Underhill. The meeting went until around 10:30 p.m. CT, per Underhill, and then Carr was at the Saints facility on Thursday.
NFL Media reported that the Saints invited Carr for a visit, and that the Raiders granted permission for that to occur. However, Carr is reportedly doing due diligence, and no trade is imminent. It's worth keeping in mind that things could happen quickly, as Carr has $40.4 million that becomes guaranteed if he's still on the Raiders' roster on Feb. 15. Carr has reportedly said he's not planning to help his soon-to-be-former team by extending that key date.
Allen is familiar with Carr, as he coached the rookie in 2014 before being fired four weeks into the season following four straight losses. When it comes to a potential Carr-Saints marriage, cap space is worth keeping in mind. New Orleans currently has the worst financial situation in the NFL, per Over The Cap, as the Saints are projected to be over $60 million over the cap.
The Saints are certainly among the teams searching for a new starting quarterback this offseason. Andy Dalton is scheduled to be a free agent, while Jameis Winston has one year remaining on his contract. Winston was injured in the Saints' season opener, started the next two games but then did not play for the remainder of the season.
Carr was benched two weeks prior to the end of the regular season, yet named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate. The benching was in large part due to the contract extension he signed last offseason. Many wonder how likely it is that Carr would be traded on the current contract he's on, as he carries cap hits north of $43 million in both 2024 and 2025. Carr went 6-9 as the Raiders' starter in 2022 while completing 60.8 percent of his passes for 3,522 yards, 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin identified the NFC South as the most likely division Carr lands in for 2023, with the Saints, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all searching for new quarterbacks. To read his breakdown, click here.