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Saints reset with Derek Carr running the show

Aug 13, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints

2022 record: 7-10, tied-second NFC South

Playoff picture: For a franchise once known as the Aints, the Drew Brees days were the brightest by a mile. The Saints are 0-for-2 in making the playoffs since Brees retired.

Biggest Week 1 question: What do franchise icons Michael Thomas and Jimmy Graham have left? Thomas has played just 10 games in the past three seasons with ankle and toe injuries, but it was not long ago when he was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2019).

Graham, 36, was out of football in 2022 before reuniting with the Saints in July. The five-time Pro Bowler who once had a 16-touchdown season for the Saints could play a supporting role at this stage of his career. He also suffered a medical episode that contributed to an arrest in the Los Angeles area in August.

What’s new: The Saints set the offseason quarterback dominoes in motion by agreeing to a deal with former Raiders signal-caller Derek Carr in early March. This was before anyone knew of Aaron Rodgers’ intentions. After nine seasons in Oakland and Las Vegas, where he developed a reputation as a deep-ball specialist with precious little postseason success, Carr could benefit from the change in scenery as much as the Saints will benefit from an arm of his caliber.

They’re gone: New Orleans needs to replace three regulars on the D-line: defensive end Marcus Davenport and defensive tackles David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle. The Saints spent their first two draft picks on the position group, grabbing DT Bryan Bresee and DE Isaiah Foskey.

On the money: In addition to handing Carr a four-year, $150 million contract, New Orleans gave defensive end Cameron Jordan a two-year extension worth $27.5 million in guaranteed money. The eight-time Pro Bowler has racked up 115.5 sacks in a Saints uniform since 2011.

Get to know: Bresee followed a long line of NFL-bound defensive linemen at Clemson. The Tigers rallied around him last season when his 15-year-old sister Ella died from brain cancer.

Vegas says: BetMGM is anticipating some improvement from New Orleans with Carr in town. The over/under is at 9.5, highest in the NFC South.

–Field Level Media