Former Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Saints on Monday.
Carr spent 9 seasons with the Raiders, who were in Oakland for the majority of his career. The former Fresno State standout was selected in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft and made the Pro Bowl 4 times during his tenure with that franchise. He led the Raiders to playoff appearances in 2016 and 2021. There were high hopes for Las Vegas in 2022, but with its season going downhill, Carr was benched for the final 2 games. He finished the 2022 campaign with 3,522 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, 14 interceptions (tied for the most of his career), a 60.8 completion percentage (his lowest ever) and an 86.3 passer rating (also his lowest). The 31-year-old’s benching all but sealed his fate and the Derek Carr sweepstakes began in earnest.
That bidding war — which was also rumored to include the New York Jets — came to an end on Monday.
New Orleans Saints’ futures odds
Following the announcement of Carr’s acquisition, New Orleans became a considerable favorite in the NFC South. After being priced at +210 by Caesars Sportsbook in the division earlier in the morning, the Saints are now +140 favorites. That has also ballooned the odds of the 3 divisional rivals to +240 (Carolina Panthers), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+390) and Atlanta Falcons (+425).
New Orleans is +1500 to win the NFC and +3000 to win the Super Bowl. Head coach Dennis Allen’s team had been +2200 to triumph in the conference and +5000 to lift the Lombardi Trophy prior to signing Carr.
What does signing Derek Carr mean for the Saints?
In a wide-open NFC, the Saints have to be considered realistic contenders — albeit nowhere near the top of that list — now that they have a viable starting quarterback. They finished 6th in the NFL in total defense and 9th in scoring defense last season but were undone by an offense that was in the bottom half of the league in total yards and scoring. Jameis Winston got hurt early in 2022 and never regained the starting job. Andy Dalton was mediocre at best. If the defense continues to excel, Carr doesn’t have to be other-worldly for this team to make it to the playoffs.
That being said, expectations should be kept in check. The Saints were already in salary-cap purgatory even before signing Carr, so they aren’t going to have much to work with for any additional offseason moves. The only bet on New Orleans I would even remotely consider is to win the NFC at +1500. The AFC is too good for me to bite on any Super Bowl offer and there is no value whatsoever on the Saints being favored in a division where all 4 teams are pretty even on paper. At +425, Atlanta has by far the best value in the NFC South.