New Orleans Saints sign Pro Bowl QB Derek Carr to $150M contract

Just like that, the first domino in the free agency market has fallen. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the New Orleans Saints are “closing in on a deal” with former Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

As all the other QB-needy teams scramble to either trade or draft a franchise solution, the Saints said no thanks. We’ll simply sign a four-time Pro Bowl QB instead.

Carr’s agreement is a four-year deal for $150 million, featuring $100M in guarantees. Carr was set to have a $32.9 million salary in 2023 had the Raiders stuck with him. Now it looks like he’ll be getting a raise, with much more in guarantees, proving more long-term security. He also gets a full no-trade clause, which he also enjoyed with the Raiders, leading to his eventual release.

It has the potential to pay off in a major way for a Saints team that has bounced from Jameis Winston to Andy Dalton since seeing Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees retire after the 2020 season. Carr may be set to turn 32 later this month, but he’s a win-now solution.

This signing makes a lot of sense for both sides, considering the Saints’ desperate need for a starting QB, in addition to Carr already being familiar with the team’s head coach. Dennis Allen’s first chance to be a head coach came with the Las Vegas Raiders, and Carr arrived as a rookie in 2014, Allen’s final season.

Now the two get to reunite with a chip on each shoulder. Carr obviously wants to prove the Raiders made a massive mistake by moving on from him after nine seasons where he led them to the playoffs just twice. Meanwhile, Allen is looking to get his first taste of the postseason as well.

Perhaps Carr landing in New Orleans, where he gets to play in the controlled environment of Caesars Superdome, was the best fit all along. In addition to joining a roster that had the ninth-best defense a season ago, Carr gets to throw to rising star Chris Olave, who topped 1,000 yards as a rookie in 15 games last season. Michael Thomas could stick around too, giving Carr a couple of reliable targets to get comfortable with right away.

Related: See where Derek Carr lands in our NFL QB rankings

Meanwhile, now the Carolina Panthers will have to turn their attention elsewhere, which could include getting ultra-aggressive moving up in the NFL Draft.

Ditto for the New York Jets, although their approach is expected to be different. Still, for a team that was said to be waiting for Aaron Rodgers to make a decision, some in the Big Apple could be getting nervous with another top QB target now off the board.

Related: 2023 NFL mock draft: Chicago Bears trade down multiple times, QBs fill top 10

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