Skip to main content

Signing Derek Carr was a franchise-altering mistake for the New Orleans Saints

Derek Carr and the New Orleans Saints moved to 5-6 on Sunday via an ugly 24-15 loss to the division-rival Atlanta Falcons.

New Orleans’ points consisted of five field goals from Blake Grupe before he missed a long attempt at the end of the fourth quarter.

For his part, Carr completed 24-of-38 passes for 304 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. His one pick resulted in a touchdown for the Falcons as Jessie Bates returned the interception 92 yards for a score.

New Orleans was up 3-0 late in the first quarter and was attempting to take a two-score lead. Instead, Carr made a game-changing mistake as New Orleans fell to under .500.

It’s been a continuing theme for head coach Dennis Allen and Co. That is to say, inopportune mistakes coupled with an inability to punch it in from the red zone. After all, New Orleans entered Week 12 ranked in the bottom 10 of red-zone percentage. It’s been a source of frustration for Carr in his first season with the Saints.

“For sure, there was some miscommunication,” Derek Carr said about red-zone struggles earlier in the season. “There were some audibles that were done and we weren’t on the same page. Until we get on the same page, there’s going to be a sucky feeling.

Not only did New Orleans’ most-recent loss drop the team to 5-6 on the season, but it also led to the Saints now being in a first-place tie with Atlanta in the worst division the NFL has to offer. The only saving grace is the fact that this division might very well be won with a sub-.500 record. Even then, the Saints’ loss to Atlanta on Sunday has to leave us wondering whether signing Carr was a mistake.

Related: Derek Carr standing among the NFL’s 32 starting QBs

Derek Carr is not the long-term answer for the New Orleans Saints

derek carr, new orleans saints mistake
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Carr, 32, signed a four-year, $150 million contract with New Orleans this past offseason after spending his first nine NFL seasons with the Raiders.

For many, Las Vegas’ decision to bench Carr late last season in an effort to avoid widespread financial ramifications by releasing him was a mistake. He had been the one constant with the Raiders as that organization dealt with both off-field drama and a relocation from Northern California to Southern Nevada.

But Carr had not proven himself to be an upper-echelon signal caller during his time with the Silver and Black. That narrative has turned into truth in his first 11 games with the Saints.

Despite being on pace for nearly 4,000 yards, Carr has thrown just 10 touchdown passes in 11 games. This comes after a two-year stretch in Vegas in which he threw 47 touchdowns in 32 starts.

These are not numbers indicative of a franchise quarterback in today’s pass-happy NFL. The fact that he’s not even on pace for 20 touchdowns in a 17-game slate is eye-opening in the grand scheme of things.

The question is now obvious. Is New Orleans regretting its decision to sign Carr to a lucrative contract during the spring? Could a cheaper Jameis Winston have this team at 5-6 through 12 weeks? It’s a real point that needs to be made.

As for Carr’s contract, there is an out for general manager Mickey Loomis and Co. The team would save roughly $23 million against the cap following the 2024 season by moving off the tapped-out veteran.

The time could very well be now for New Orleans to decide on a quarterback of the future beyond Carr heading into a 2024 NFL Draft that is loaded at this position.

Unfortunately, New Orleans’ status as a pedestrian squad could lead to the team being in a less-than-stellar position once the draft comes calling. That is to say, not picking high enough to add one of the top-four or five signal callers in the draft.

Regardless, the Saints are in quarterback purgatory mere months after believing Carr would be the answer. No matter what happens moving forward on the season, this will be the narrative once the calendar turns to 2024.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: