The Derek Carr Sweepstakes is officially heating up, as recent reports indicate that more teams are trying to secure the services of the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback. According to a recent report by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, three mystery teams have reached out to Carr over the past few days. Fowler also notes that the three teams he’s referring to are not the Saints and Jets, as their interest in Carr is already public knowledge.
Derek Carr Update: 3 Mystery Teams Enter the Sweepstakes
The Known Teams
It should come as no surprise that several teams are doing their research on Derek Carr. With the fate of Aaron Rodgers still up in the air, there is a very real chance that Carr will be the best veteran option available this offseason. The New York Jets and New Orleans Saints have already brought Carr in for a visit, so it’s safe to assume that they are still the frontrunners for Carr’s services.
The Saints orchestrated their visit prior to Carr’s release from the Raiders. Both sides apparently enjoyed said visit, as New Orleans and Las Vegas reportedly had the framework in place for a trade. However, they couldn’t make the money work, so the deal fell through. However, even though the trade didn’t happen, the Saints have every reason to remain interested in Carr. The team currently holds the 29th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, so they won’t have the chance to take a top quarterback prospect in the NFL Draft. Playing in a weak NFC South, Derek Carr would likely be enough to make the team favorites to win the division.
The New York Jets, meanwhile, truly are a quarterback away from contention. The team went 7-10 with Zach Wilson actively sabotaging the team at every turn, and if they can replace the worst quarterback in football with a league-average passer, they should easily compete for a playoff spot next year. Addressing the quarterback issue before free agency begins would also make it easier for the Jets to fix the interior offensive line and other team needs.
The Mystery Teams
Fowler says that three additional teams have reached out to Carr, but he wouldn’t say who those teams are. However, we can make an educated guess to figure out who he’s talking about.
One of those three teams is almost certainly the Carolina Panthers. Originally deemed the favorites when Carr was first released, it’s safe to assume the team remains in the hunt. Carolina currently holds the ninth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but it would take a lot for the Panthers to trade up to the first-overall pick. If the team doesn’t believe that their quarterback of choice will be on the board when they’re on the clock, then it makes sense to go after Carr.
On ESPN, Chris Mortensen says with Frank Reich and Josh McCown in Carolina, QB Derek Carr could emerge with the Panthers. “Could be some synergy there,” says Mort. pic.twitter.com/px8M34U0O9
— John Ellis (@1PantherPlace) February 12, 2023
Staying in the NFC South, the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers likely complete the list of Derek Carr’s mystery teams. Recent reports indicate that Tampa Bay is willing to enter the season with Kyle Trask under center, but that feels like a smokescreen. If Trask wasn’t good enough to beat out Blaine Gabbert for the backup spot, then why would the Buccaneers be willing to make him their starter?
Much like the Panthers, the Falcons might not believe that their quarterback of the future will be on the board in the 2023 NFL Draft. The team has the eighth-overall pick, so signing Derek Carr only makes sense if they believe that there is one franchise quarterback in the class, and that they don’t stand a chance of selecting him.
Main Photo: Michael Longo – USA Today Sports