Could the New Orleans Saints' next quarterback be on his way to town?
It's possible, with Las Vegas Raiders' Derek Carr granted permission to visit the Saints as a potential trade is considered, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. And the plan is for Carr to visit on Wednesday.
It's an interesting development for a Saints team that currently has one quarterback under contract in Jameis Winston, a player the coaching staff opted to bypass for Andy Dalton midway through the 2022 season. It's unlikely that pairing is run back for another year, leaving the future signal-caller very much up for debate.
If the Saints do push for Carr, they'd have a few routes to potentially take. Carr has a full no-trade clause in his current deal, meaning he'd have to sign off on any trade. If the Saints can't reach a deal with the Raiders by Feb. 15, it's likely Carr is cut to before his contract guarantees kick in for the 2023 season. It's likely the Saints would face stiffer competition and a bidding war in that scenario.
One reason to think such a marriage would make sense is the head coach in New Orleans. Dennis Allen was the Saints' head coach when the Raiders drafted Carr out of Fresno State in the second round of the 2014 draft. Their partnership didn't last long, however, with Allen being fired following an 0-4 start to the season. The Saints' reported defensive coordinator hire in Joe Woods was also a member of that 2014 staff as DBs coach.
Carr would also represent a significant monetary investment for the Saints, with his current deal carrying a $34 million cap hit in 2023 and $43 million in each of 2024 and 2025. The Saints are currently projected to be $63 million over the cap next season, but with the ability to free up the necessary space with simple moves and contract restructures. It's likely the team would also restructure Carr's deal upon his arrival to backload some of that cost.
Beyond money the question becomes: Would Carr actually move the needle for a team that feels it's in position to step forward following a frustrating 7-10 campaign in Year 1 under Dennis Allen, a majority of which was led by Dalton at quarterback. Carr started 15 games for the Raiders in 2022, completing 60.8% of his passes (305 for 502) for 3,522 yards, 24 TDs and 14 interceptions. The low point of his season was seen up close and personal by Saints fans, with Carr at the helm of a Raiders team that was shut out 24-0 in the Caesars Superdome in Week 8. The Raiders finished 6-11 in the first year under Josh McDaniels.
The Saints have some extra draft assets to move around if they do opt to swing a trade, with the No. 29 selection arriving from the Denver Broncos in exchange for Sean Payton last week. They also hold the No. 40, 71, 112, 143, 163 and 205 picks in the upcoming draft.