The New Orleans Saints will only pay their credit card bill when the bank completely cuts them off. Mickey Loomis continues to kick the salary cap can down the curb another season. The NFC South is a bit soft as we head into the new league year, and it appears the Saints are going “all in” to win the NFC. Adding Derek Carr is the next domino to fall.
NFL Network’s Mike Garofalo tweeted, “The #Saints are closing in on a deal with QB David (later corrected to Derek) Carr, sources tell me and @RapSheet. After nine seasons with the #Raiders, the four-time Pro Bowl selection is headed to New Orleans.”
What Derek Carr Can Bring the New Orleans Saints
Getting into the dance is important, but very few low-level playoff teams end up actually making a run at a Super Bowl. The Saints’ rebuild will be one for the ages, but drafting well and making intelligent free agent decisions can change a franchise’s outlook in a hurry.
The Saints have a talented but aging roster that would need their defense to return to elite levels, even with Carr, if they want to be contenders in January. But just how good of a move this is depends on term length.
Dennis Allen was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders when they drafted Carr. He told Terrin Waack, “I think he’s highly competitive; he’s highly intelligent; he’s got a great work ethic; he’s an outstanding leader.”
Carr is in interesting territory. He’s probably a tad underrated in the NFL’s QB ecosystem. The eight-year veteran has played some good football on some bad teams, but he had an underwhelming campaign in 2022.
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Carr’s an interesting evaluation overall, but he might fit perfectly in Pete Carmichael’s offensive system. Carr has always aired on the side of safety with the ball and has avoided being too aggressive early in games unless he absolutely has to.
Depending on what happens with Michael Thomas, the Saints could be in a decent spot offensively. If they can make the money make sense, cutting Thomas, who has played only 10 games over the past three seasons, could save them some heartache. New Orleans still has a solid offensive line, and Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed flashed as rookies.
Compared to the rest of the NFC South, there’s a good chance the Saints will have the best offense in the division. The problem becomes trying to improve the rest of the roster, which will be difficult because of the Saints’ cap situation. Nevertheless, New Orleans should be competitive with the pieces they have on the roster right now, at least within their own division.
And although he’s been a largely risk-averse QB, that doesn’t mean Carr is simply a game manager. He has a good arm and, in 2021, showed that when the team absolutely needs a play late in games, he can provide a bit of magic downfield.
The Derek Carr Marriage Won’t Last Until Retirement
The bill will come due in New Orleans. Securing Carr to a four-year deal can provide some nice salary cap flexibility for the Saints, who will likely be able to get out of the deal after three seasons, depending on how it is ultimately structured.
Most teams look completely different within a three-year period, but New Orleans will be unrecognizable by then, particularly on defense. Carr has already lived in franchise mediocrity during his time with the Raiders. The 31-year-old likely won’t stick around on a rebuilding roster.
But if the Saints can continue to manipulate the cap and add a piece or two this offseason, they should be considered the favorite in the South heading into 2023.