After Further Review: Five takes from the Saints signing Derek Carr

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 6:10 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Take One: Saints land their guy

For the second straight offseason, the Saints went big at quarterback. But unlike their pursuit of Deshaun Watson, this time Dennis Allen landed his man.

Make no mistake about it, Derek Carr absolutely was the best option available. He’s an upgrade over what they had at the position. The Saints made no secret of how much they coveted him throughout the process.

To the naysayers, what was the better solution?

Jimmy Garoppolo? Maybe, but his durability scared the Saints last offseason. Baker Mayfield? The Saints were never interested despite what some national reports said. They could’ve had him last year. Andy Dalton? He may still return, but he’s more suited as a spot starter/high end backup.

Rookie quarterback? Maybe if they were in the top half of the first round it would be more feasible. However, given where the Saints are picking, they would’ve been hoping for an outlier. Any kind of trade up to get one of the top four would’ve been way too much of a risk to count on.

There were no perfect answers, but Carr provides the lowest risk, brings immediate competency to the position and was legitimately attainable. Plus, he’ll give instant leadership in the locker room that was lacking a season ago.

Take Two: Contract exactly what market dictates

Four years, $150 million, with $100 million guaranteed sounds like a lot and it definitely is.

But as we’ve been pointing out since news of Carr’s visit took place, that’s right in line with what the market dictated for a guy of Carr’s resume’.

His $37.5 million per season ranks him 9th in the NFL in that category. Right behind Matt Stafford and Dak Prescott, and ahead of Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff. Carr is comfortably in this class of quarterback in the hierarchy of the league’s best signal-callers. In my opinion, he’s also the most well-rounded of the Prescott-Goff-Cousins-Ryan Tannehill group.

Plus, Carr maybe 9th now, but that will drop once Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Daniel Jones sign their respective extensions. With the way the Saints structure contracts, the cap hit will be low in 2023. Also, if the yearly reported numbers are accurate, it appears to be more like a three-year, $100million deal.

Take Three: Timeline of Carr chase

It’s been an eventful month for the Saints in their search for their next starting quarterback.

February 7th-News broke of the Raiders granting Carr permission to talk with the Saints to possibly pursue a trade.

February 8th-9th-Carr and his wife, Heather, visited the city and team facility. However, they left town without a contract.

February 12th-Carr declined to use his no-trade clause on the Saints or any organization which forced Las Vegas to release Carr.

February 18th-Carr took a two-day visit with the New York Jets. He left town without a deal.

Last week in Indianapolis, Carr met with the Saints and Jets again, and also met with the Panthers for the first time.

March 5th-A report said Carr was ‘slightly leaning’ toward the Jets. ( Side note, this felt like an agent leak from the jump aimed at getting the intended to fix their offer).

Monday, March 6th-The Saints emerged as the frontrunner, and were closing in on a deal with the Saints. At 10:18 am, Carr tweeted his confirmation of joining the Saints.

The Saints were patient and steadfast in their pursuit of Carr. The one thing that separated the Saints from the other teams was simple, he was their top choice all along. The Jets are waiting on Aaron Rodgers. The Panthers never seemed all in.

Carr knew the Saints wanted him, and now the two sides are all in together.

Take Four: Good for Dennis Allen

Dennis Allen now has his guy.

It’s hard to overstate just how much Allen needed this win. The organization likes Allen and wants to see him succeed. But Allen also knows, regardless of how much they like him, his head coaching career could be a short one if he doesn’t find a franchise quarterback. It also would not have looked good for Allen to swing big and miss for a second year in a row at quarterback. In this instance, Allen lands a player he’s very familiar with but without the baggage and the compensation it would’ve taken to get Watson.

This could be the signature signing of Allen’s tenure.

Take Five: Other Observations

-The business side of the operation also needed this jolt. The franchise felt a bit stale after last season. Carr’s addition brings some life and excitement to the club. Fans now have something to get excited over.

-One thing Carr’s contract will not buy is patience. The Saints will now be the favorite to win the NFC South. That will also be the expectation. It’s not crazy to think Carr’s addition could turn a 7-10 team into a 10-7 one. The Saints believe they can get back into the playoff mix right away with Carr running the show.

-I know there was a lot of curiosity about Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker. I think the Saints’ aggressive pursuit of Carr told us, without telling us, how they view Hooker. Hooker will almost certainly be available at 29th in the first round. If they viewed him as a franchise guy, he would definitely be attainable via the draft route for them. Yet, they were all in on Carr. They may like still him and could take him if he’s around in the second or third round, but clearly they don’t see him as a sure thing.

-I still believe the Saints should look into a developmental type prospect in day two or three of the draft. Maybe Hooker can be that guy. It makes good business sense to continually invest and develop that position.

-For those not liking Carr’s contract, Geno Smith just landed a reported three-year, $105M deal with Seattle. It’s a good time to be a quarterback.

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