The first free agent quarterback domino is about to fall, as Derek Carr is reportedly closing in on a deal to join the NFC South.
It appears that after a few weeks of bubbling up, the free agent quarterback action is about to boil over. In a class that contains guys like Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo, Derek Carr is the first quarterback set to make his move.
There was some hope that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would get in on the Carr chase, and it appears they were indeed in to some degree. The Jets were named as early frontrunners to land Carr, despite the team’s interest in adding Aaron Rodgers; the Panthers entered the chat as well as a surprise Top 3 favorite to bring Carr in and work with new head coach Frank Reich.
As recently as this past weekend at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, two more teams reportedly made contact with Carr yet their identities remained anoymous. At every turn, openings like that suggested the Bucs were perched and ready to pounce on Carr if everything lined up in their favor.
Carr is indeed coming to the NFC South, but the Bucs and Panthers will be game planning against him rather than the other way around.
Buccaneers news: Derek Carr set to sign with New Orleans Saints
According to NFL Network insiders Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport, Carr is closing in on a deal with the New Orleans Saints.
“The Saints are closing in on a deal with QB David Carr, sources tell me and Ian Rapoport,” Garafolo reported on Monday. “After nine seasons with the #Raiders, the four-time Pro Bowl selection is headed to New Orleans. The first QB domino is about to fall and one NFC South team has its starter.”
The Saints were the third team to be consistently linked to Carr throughout his free agency, and emerged as the favorite late in the process. Carr ending up in New Orleans always seemed like the best scenario for him and as the process went on it became increasinly likley that he’d be the guy to take over for Drew Brees after a few years of the team twisting in the wind.
All of this comes as a bit of a bummer for the Bucs, but it’s not terribly surprising. New Orleans was not only the likliest landing spot for Carr but the Buccaneers would have needed a bunch of miraculous breaks to go their way in order to land him.
There’s also the question of whether the Bucs were better off without Carr.
Not only is the team strapped for cash this offseason, but bringing Carr in would mean tying a big future financial commitment to him as well as taking the idea of drafting a young quarterback of the future off the table. It would also have seemingly ended the idea of Kyle Trask becoming anything with the Bucs, as his opportunity to start next season would have evaproated the second Carr put pen to paper in Tampa Bay.
Carr was aguably the best quarterback on the market this side of Lamar Jackson, but the Bucs landing anyone above the middle-tier of available options seemed slim. The best course forward remains to see what the team has in Trask to determine if the 2024 draft will be needed to find a quarterback, and adding a veteran like Jacoby Brissett to bridge the Tom Brady era with whatever lies ahead.