Where Should Derek Carr Go? Ranking Five Landing Spots For Free Agent QB

The Saints and Panthers continue to be involved in speculation


Feb 15, 2023

Derek Carr officially had his Las Vegas Raiders tenure come to an end Tuesday after nearly two months of knowing the day would soon arrive.

The Raiders released Carr before the deadline for his $40 million in guaranteed money Feb. 15. It was speculated that Las Vegas might be able to trade Carr, but the veteran quarterback clearly indicated he did not want to help out the Raiders when he said he would not accept a trade.

Carr, who has been floated in rumors to other teams for weeks, now will have the choice of where he wants to play. And while there are a handful of places Carr could potentially land, there are a few that he should view as the most enticing.

We ranked where Carr should want to play while also noting his next-team odds according to FOXBet.

5. Indianapolis Colts (+900 on FOXBet)
The Colts might be coming off a four-win season, but Indianapolis’ roster still remains one of the best in the league. Carr would arrive to Indy with a star running back in Jonathan Taylor, a WR1 in Michael Pittman and an offensive line that, while it took a step back in 2022, has been one of the best in the league during the past decade. Newly hired head coach Shane Steichen, the former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator, has worked with both Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts and might be able to help Carr reach his full potential in a less-than-stellar AFC South. Sure, the Colts might opt to draft a young signal-caller rather than sign one like Carr, but the roster is veteran-led and the organization clearly has made (unsuccessful) runs at veterans in the past.

4. Carolina Panthers (+250)
It feels like the entire NFC South is expected to kick the tires on Carr, which speaks to the level of quarterback play in the division. ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday reported Carolina was one of two teams that are expected to show further interest in the free agent quarterback. The Panthers hired Frank Reich as head coach this offseason, and the well-known offensive mind has had success with quarterbacks like Carson Wentz and Nick Foles when both were with Philadelphia. As it relates to Carr, the Panthers have a star receiver in D.J. Moore, and Carolina’s second half to the 2022 campaign proves the team has some talent along with a top-10 pick and two second-rounders in the NFL draft.

3. New Orleans Saints (+450)
Carr already met with New Orleans when the Raiders allowed him to seek out a trade. Schefter reported Wednesday the Saints are expected to show further interest while NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport called New Orleans the “frontrunner” last week. The Saints currently have Jameis Winston under contract for the 2023 season, though Winston’s status is far from cemented as he did not play in the final 12 games after being inactive due to injury the previous two. Carr should welcome an arrival in New Orleans given the offensive talent with running back Alvin Kamara and budding star wideout Chris Olave, along with the often-injured Michael Thomas. New Orleans also is built up front and on the defensive side, making it a division contender should it improve behind center.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+300)
Don’t let recency bias cloud your judgment too much; the Buccaneers still have an impressive roster and talent on the offensive side of the ball. It’s tough to find a receiving tandem better than Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and a major reason Tom Brady’s Buccaneers took a step back in 2022 was because of injuries on the offensive line. Should Carr take over behind center, while it might be a step back from Brady, it’s without a doubt an upgrade over Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask, who headline the current depth chart. The Bucs are in a tough spot on the cap after pushing money into the future ever since Brady arrived to the Sunshine State, but the roster itself is up there with the best.

1. New York Jets (+800)
While Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has represented the majority of headlines as it pertains to the Jets, Carr remains an option — an option the Jets should strongly consider. After all, New York would have to trade away a fair share of young talent in order to acquire Rodgers, which the organization might view as less intriguing than signing someone else and keeping the roster the same. The money, however, doesn’t seem to be a problem. Nevertheless, Carr would serve as a noticeable upgrade for the built-to-win Jets should he sign with Gang Green. And while it probably wouldn’t be a welcome development for others in the AFC East like the New England Patriots, Carr should welcome that chance. The Jets have more money to spend than others on this list and plenty of future draft capital, including the No. 13 overall pick in April. Oh yeah, and New York has a ton of young offensive talent headlined by running back Breece Hall and wideouts Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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