Derek Carr Trade Rumors: 5 Best Fits For the Longtime Raiders QB
Whether it’s Jarrett Stidham, an early-round draft pick, or a proven veteran, it’s clear the Las Vegas Raiders will have a new regular starting quarterback in 2023.
While Derek Carr certainly doesn’t deserve all the blame for the franchise’s struggles, his 63-79 career record and lack of playoff success should make the idea of a fresh start a palatable one for both the team and the player.
Although the Raiders can cut ties with Carr if they are willing to absorb a $5.65 million dead-cap hit, general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels could also try to recoup some value by trading him.
So, which teams present the best possible fits for a quarterback still searching for his first postseason win?
Here are five potential landing spots Carr should have on his list.
5. Indianapolis Colts
Colts fans might cringe at the thought of betting on another big-name veteran quarterback to deliver a championship to Indianapolis. However, unlike Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan, Carr wouldn’t be taking over at the tail end of his career. And unlike Carson Wentz, the longtime Raiders signal-caller wouldn’t be arriving as an injury-prone reclamation project.
While Carr certainly has his shortcomings — namely, a penchant for checking the ball down and an interception rate that’s increased in each of the last four years — he offers the Colts something they desperately need at the position: competency.
With nearly 150 starts under his belt, the three-time Pro Bowler would bring plenty of experience to an offense built around the talents of star running back Jonathan Taylor and towering wideout Michael Pittman Jr.
Putting Carr in charge of a unit that also features promising 2022 draft picks Alec Pierce (38 catches for 551 yards and two touchdowns) and Jelani Woods (24/303/3) would instantly make the Colts contenders in a wide-open AFC South. And because he’ll only be 32 next season, Carr should have enough left in the tank to provide Indy with at least a league-average starter for two or three years.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Is Arthur Smith’s squad ready to compete for the Lombardi Trophy? Although it might take two offseasons to execute a complete rebuild, acquiring Carr could put the Atlanta Falcons in the mix to win the NFC South sooner than later.
Not only does Atlanta play in a division in which all four teams could feature a new starting quarterback in 2023, but the franchise boasts several young offensive players with All-Pro upside.
Between 2021 first-round pick Kyle Pitts and top 2022 selection Drake London, the Falcons have two big, physical pass catchers who can win one-on-one matchups. The former brings a rare blend of size and speed, while the latter possesses the frame, strong hands, and body control of a true No. 1 receiver.
Meanwhile, rookie fifth-round pick Tyler Allgeier has proven capable of handling the load at running back. With 186 carries for 900 yards and three touchdowns and 16 receptions for 139 yards and another score, he should be considered a valuable building block on offense.
Expected to have the second-most cap space in the league this offseason, the Falcons can afford to not only make a trade for Carr but also utilize free agency to upgrade their offensive line, add a proven veteran receiver, and acquire a starting-caliber tight end to set their next signal-caller up for success.
3. New York Jets
Somehow, New York Jets fans find themselves in the same position they’ve been in for years: without a franchise quarterback.
Zach Wilson’s disastrous start to his NFL career has made the idea of ditching him for a proven veteran even more palatable to a fan base that’s desperately waited for the team to find a long-term answer at the most important position in sports. And in many ways, Carr seems like precisely the type of player the Jets would pursue.
Although he’s by no means a superstar, the 12th-year pro brings name recognition and proven production to the table. Carr’s best chance of winning his first Super Bowl ring may not include having to go up against Josh Allen at least twice a year.
But he should be intrigued by the possibility of headlining an offense that includes 2022 first-round receiver Garrett Wilson (74 catches for 1,014 yards and four touchdowns) and exciting running back Breece Hall, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry before he suffered a season-ending torn ACL.
Another plus for Carr?
Unlike his current team, the Jets excel at keeping other groups off the scoreboard. Ultimately, the upgrade from Wilson to Carr would be a substantial boost, especially when combined with an elite defense that’s looked championship-caliber throughout the 2022 season.
2. New Orleans Saints
If Sean Payton plans on returning to his old job, then Derek Carr should feel confident about relocating to the NFC South.
Sure, the Saints may not be as talented as they were during the Drew Brees era. But they still have several impact players on both sides of the ball, starting with do-it-all running back Alvin Kamara. Despite a statistical drop-off, the versatile playmaker still has the physical skills that helped him earn a $75 million contract extension in Sept. 2020.
Besides Kamara, Carr could also form a connection with exciting rookie Chris Olave. The Ohio State product has wasted no time justifying his first-round billing, totaling a 67/982/3 line while playing only 66% of the offensive snaps.
Better health up front will be key for the Saints in 2023, as injuries have hindered the offensive line. For Carr, New Orleans should be an attractive destination thanks to playing in a winnable division that will undergo significant turnover in the coming months.
1. Washington Commanders
Talk about a team that would benefit tremendously from having an above-average starter. No offense to Taylor Heinicke or Carson Wentz, but neither signal-caller should be leading the huddle on a weekly basis.
Washington makes a ton of sense for Carr on multiple levels.
First, he would take over an offense that has ample talent at the skill positions. From star wideout Terry McLaurin (74/1,117/4) to exciting 2022 first-rounder Jahan Dotson (32/451/7) to the two-headed running back tandem of Brian Robinson (205 carries for 797 yards and two touchdowns) and Antonio Gibson (899 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns), the Commanders possess plenty of firepower.
Letting Carr run the show would allow Washington to unleash the best of a talented group of weapons.
Moreover, the Commanders have a rock-solid defense that should be a top-10 unit in 2023, with a healthy version of Chase Young flying off the edge. (That’s assuming the team doesn’t let Pro Bowl defensive tackle Daron Payne walk in free agency.)
Overall, the fit works for everyone involved. The Commanders could finally enter a season with confidence about the state of the quarterback position. Carr could utilize his experience to help the franchise achieve a winning record for the first time since 2016.
Considering the Commanders have managed to stay in the playoff hunt the last three seasons despite all their issues at quarterback, they would have to be regarded as a serious Wild Card contender with Derek Carr under center.