After nearly three weeks of free agency, Derek Carr has finally made a decision. Carr is set to join the New Orleans Saints after agreeing to a four-year, $150 million contract with $100 million in total guarantees.
Derek Carr has a longstanding relationship with Saints head coach Dennis Allen, who was the Oakland Raiders’ head coach when the team drafted him in 2014. New Orleans had long been the team most interested in the Fresno State product, meeting with him in February when he was still under contract with the Raiders.
Rather than facilitate a trade to the Saints at the time, Carr instead forced Las Vegas’ hand into releasing him so he could test the free-agent market.
Even if Carr is committed to New Orleans, working out the financial details will be difficult. The Saints are $18.2 million over the $224.8 million salary cap and have to get under it by the start of the league year March 15, meaning the front office is far from done making moves.
Don’t be surprised if several Saints restructure their contracts in the coming days and veterans are cut with post-June 1 distinctions. Releasing Jameis Winston in that manner alone would carve out $12.8 million in space, so his departure was a virtual certainty even before Carr reportedly agreed to sign with the Saints and is now just a matter of time.
according to espn.com “Carr, 31, visited New Orleans and met with several members of the organization over two days in early February. He also met again with the team last week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.”
The reported signing of Carr marks a somewhat surprising recommitment to a veteran-laden roster that is expensive and coming off a 7-10 season. Carr would be an upgrade over Winston and Andy Dalton but not enough of one to turn the Saints into Super Bowl contenders.