Derek Carr continues his free agent journey this offseason after being released by the Los Vegas Raiders, and some teams have already become prime candidates to sign him.
The New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, and Carolina Panthers are those top three teams that seem most interested in the veteran signal-caller’s talents for next season and beyond.
However, ESPN reported that «at least two other teams have reached out to Carr in recent weeks,» which is why his free agency is expected to begin next week.
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Carr’s advantage is being able to talk to teams now rather than the usual period of legal tampering just before the start of the new league year on March 15. That happened because of the release of the Raiders.
What two other teams could be competing for Carr? The Indianapolis Colts have had their run with veteran quarterbacks in recent years (Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz), but neither worked. They may think third is the charm, but they have the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which could give them a shot at a rookie quarterback.
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The Washington Commanders traded for Wentz last year, but eventually went to Taylor Heinicke and then rookie Sam Howell in the final game of the season. While Howell has been named QB1, who knows if they’re actually looking for a veteran on the market?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also a team to watch on the free agent market due to Tom Brady’s retirement. Blaine Gabbert is also a free agent, making Kyle Trask, who has attempted just nine NFL shots thus far in the start of his career, the only quarterback on the depth chart.
But the Saints and Jets appear to be very interested in Carr. ESPN added that the Saints «remain motivated» to sign Carr, who they had come to visit before Vegas released him. They have solid weapons, including standout rookie Chris Olave, to work with and good defense to turn the tables on a downward 2022 campaign.
Then there are the Jets, who can also provide some good young weapons on both sides of the ball. They seemed poised for their first playoff appearance since 2010, but if we’re being honest, the quarterback position held them back.
Zach Wilson was expected to step up with the likes of Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, and others around him. General manager Joe Douglas beefed up the offensive line, and the defense under head coach Robert Saleh was more like what many thought it would be in Year 2. Unfortunately, quarterback woes led Wilson to the benched twice as the Jets finished 7-10.
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The Jets’ interest in Aaron Rodgers makes things «more complicated» compared to the Saints, according to ESPN.
Either way, Carr will have options. The 31-year-old will be entering his 10th NFL season and has shown the ability to make big plays and get the job done on game day.
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It was an offseason in 2022 under new head coach Josh McDaniels (3,522 yards, 24 TDs, 14 INTs), but two years ago, Carr threw for 4,804 yards with 23 TDs on 14 INTs en route to leading the Raiders to the postseason.