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5 logical Derek Carr landing spots in NFL free agency

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is now an NFL free agent. The four-time Pro Bowler informed the Raiders that he will not accept a trade to any other team in the NFL. With a full no-trade clause and north of $40 million set to be guaranteed on Feb. 15, the Raiders officially moved on from Carr the day before said deadline.

This sets things up well for Carr to cash in big time on the open market. First off, he’ll be free to sign with any team immediately. This gives Carr a head start over other impending free agents.

Despite his struggles under Josh McDaniels a season ago, Carr has a track record of success. There’s going to be a strong market for his services. Here, we look at five ideal landing spots for the veteran signal caller.

Related: Derek Carr and the top 2023 NFL free agents

Tennessee Titans bring in Pro Bowl quarterback

tennessee titans sign derek carr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran Ryan Tannehill is slated to count a whopping $36.6 million against the salary cap in 2023. If Tennessee were to designate the regressed signal-caller a post-June 1 cut, the team would save a whopping $27 million against said cap. Given how he’s performed over the past couple years, it’s safe to say that this is going to happen.

New Titans general manager Ran Carthon will want to get his own guy under center. A third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Malik Willis proved he was not the guy as a rookie. The youngster threw zero touchdowns compared to three interceptions. In fact, head coach Mike Vrabel opted to play veteran journeyman Joshua Dobbs under center a week after signing him off the practice squad rather than trot Willis out there.

Tennessee will have a need at quarterback. Carr makes the most sense. Sometimes, it really is that simple.

Related: Ranking NFL quarterbacks in 2023

New England Patriots add Derek Carr to the mix

new england patriots sign derek carr
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve read the reports that young quarterback Mac Jones is in head coach Bill Belichick’s doghouse. You never want to be in bad standing when it comes to Belichick, especially at the all-important quarterback position. There’s now a decent chance that New England will look in a different direction at quarterback during the offseason.

As the second-oldest head coach in the NFL, Belichick doesn’t want to go into a full-scale rebuild. Acquiring a capable veteran stopgap while figuring out the long-term plans later makes the most sense for these Pats. Carr has proven over and over again that he can handle that role.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL offseason trade rumors

Frank Reich gets his guy with the Carolina Panthers

NFL: Carolina Panthers Head Coach-Frank Reich-Press Conference
Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina will turn over pretty much every stone to find a capable starting quarterback after it hired Frank Reich earlier in the calendar year. Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield are slated to become free agents. Neither has proven himself as a starter-caliber quarterback in today’s NFL. The same thing can’t be said about Mr. Carr.

Dating back to his days as the then-San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator, Reich has liked a certain type of quarterback. That is to say, prototypical signal callers such as Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan. There’s no reason to believe that’s going to change in Carolina. It makes Carr a perfect fit in that he can simply run Reich’s offense with the Panthers boasting one of the better young defenses in the league.

Washington Commanders land Derek Carr in Maryland

There’s a lot of moving parts in Maryland right now. Washington is all but guaranteed to release struggling veteran Carson Wentz at some point here soon. Veteran journeyman Taylor Heinicke is also slated to hit free agency and is unlikely to be back with the Commanders.

It’s led to head coach Ron Rivera declaring 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell as Washington’s QB1 heading into the offseason program. Rivera also just recently claimed that Washington isn’t going to exhaust a ton of capital on a quarterback.

“I think the biggest thing is we have to find a guy to come in that’s going to compete, but in terms of finding a guy you’re going to have to spend a lot of capital on, no. We’re not looking for a guy we’ve got to spend a lot of capital on,” Rivera on Commanders’ plan at quarterback.

It’s safe to say that Rivera is talking about the potential of pulling off a blockbuster trade after Washington yielded multiple draft picks to acquire Wentz last offseason. If Carr can come in at roughly $30-$35 million without requiring a trade, Washington will have to think long and hard about the possibility.

Related: 2023 NFL mock draft

New York Jets land Zach Wilson replacement

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at New York Jets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York is being linked to four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers on a near never-ending loop. It still seems to be somewhat of an awkward fit given where Rodgers is in his career and the fact that he has not even committed to playing next season.

Carr would be a completely different monster for Robert Saleh’s squad. First off, he wouldn’t cost multiple first-round picks in a blockbuster trade like Rodgers would. Secondly, Carr wouldn’t come to Jersey with the same type of baggage Rodgers has.

New York is capable of contending with a solid quarterback under center. Unfortunately, Zach Wilson has not proven to be that guy in the two seasons since New York made him the No. 2 overall pick. With the talent these Jets have on offense, Derek Carr would absolutely be an ideal fit.

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