A Pro Bowl QB May Be Close to Entering the Fold in the NFC

Dec 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) gestures against the New England Patriots in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders obviously didn’t have quite the season that they had hoped for in 2022, finishing in third place in the AFC West at 6-11. As a result, the Raiders have made it well known that they are looking to move off of their Pro Bowl QB Derek Carr this offseason before his $40.4 million guarantee trigger next week.

As it turns out, an NFC team that the Minnesota Vikings have a decade-plus long rivalry with is the first team that gets to visit with Carr: the New Orleans Saints. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported the news.

Then, a few minutes after this news broke, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal came out and said that the Raiders and Saints have agreed to the compensation element, most likely the draft pick(s) that the Raiders will receive in exchange for their QB.

New Orleans is in an interesting place for this move for a couple reasons. Firstly, they sit over $60 million above the salary cap right now. Carr has $121.9 million tied to him over the next three years, meaning the Saints will have to do more financial gymnastics to get this deal done, unless the Raiders eat a large chunk of the salary cap.

Aug 26, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) waves to the crowd after the game against the New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is likely one of the final holdups of this trade along with whether or not Carr would be willing to take a pay cut. Even still, there should probably be little doubt that the Saints would be able to swing this deal. Remember, New Orleans was in the running for Deshaun Watson last offseason despite being $100 million over the cap.

Instead, the real question for the Saints regarding this trade is, why now? New Orleans went 7-10 in 2022, and while Andy Dalton certainly is no top-10 QB, he’s hardly the reason that they struggled last season.

In 14 games, Dalton completed 66.7% of his passes for 2871 yards, 18 TDs, and 9 INTs. Meanwhile, in 15 games, Carr completed 60.8% of his passes for 3522 yards, 24 TDs, and 14 INTs.

Feb 5, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; AFC quarterback Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders (4) throws the ball against the NFC during the Pro Bowl Games at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, it’s safe to say that Carr is a more talented quarterback than Dalton, but is he enough to take a 7-10 team with Dennis Allen as their head coach and turn them into a contender? I have my doubts, especially considering Allen was fired from the Raiders head coaching position during Carr’s rookie season after starting 0-4.

Unless the two teams meet in the playoffs, the Minnesota Vikings don’t run into the Saints this season after playing them at some point in five of the last six seasons. However, if this trade were to go down, it’s likely that the Vikings would at some point play against a Carr-led Saints team.

During his first nine NFL seasons, Carr has completed 64.6% of his passes for 35,222 yards, 217 TDs, and 99 INTs in 142 games. He made his fourth career Pro Bowl during the 2022 season, and the Raiders have made the playoffs twice during his career, losing in the Wild Card rounds of the 2016 and 2021 seasons.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.