The Indianapolis Colts reportedly do not have any interest in trading for quarterback Derek Carr. But if the Colts are interested in Carr whatsoever, they will soon no longer have to trade for him.
Multiple insiders, including NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, have reported that the Las Vegas Raiders are expected to release Carr on February 14.
The Raiders tried to work out a trade involving Carr prior to a February 15 deadline where the quarterback’s $32.9 million base salary for 2023 becomes fully guaranteed. But Carr reportedly indicated to the team on February 12 that he will not waive his no-trade clause.
Essentially, Carr is forcing the team’s hand, as he wants to become a free agent.
Gauging Colts’ Interest in Carr
The Athletic’s Zak Keefer tweeted in January that the Colts were not interested in trading for Carr. But Keefer didn’t necessarily rule out all interest in the Raiders quarterback.
Signing Carr in free agency instead of trading for him prevents teams from needing to give up draft compensation for his services. The Colts pulled off trades each of the last two years to acquire Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan.
Had Wentz or Ryan played better, Indianapolis wouldn’t have cared about what the team traded away for them. But a move to acquire another veteran quarterback for draft compensation is harder to justify after the last two misses.
From the Colts’ perspective, though, they will still have competition for Carr’s services in free agency if they are indeed interested. Sport Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that the New Orleans Saints offered the Raiders a trade for Carr.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the New York Jets have their eyes set on acquiring Aaron Rodgers, but if that’s not possible, Carr is the team’s second choice.
How Carr Potentially Fits With the Colts
Indianapolis holds the No. 4 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and rumors are circling that general manager Chris Ballard could move up in the draft in order to select the quarterback of his choice.
Even still, the Colts can’t be ruled out as a destination for a veteran quarterback this offseason.
Whatever signal caller the Colts may select in the draft won’t automatically be ready to start in Week 1. Furthermore, in all likelihood, the team will be cutting ties with Ryan and Nick Foles, which could open a spot for a veteran quarterback such as Carr.
There could be quite a few signal callers on the open market in March. Carr will be one of the most experienced and would be an obvious choice as a bridge quarterback for Indianapolis.
Carr went 63-79 in nine seasons as the starting quarterback for the Raiders, throwing for 35,222 yards and 217 touchdowns with 99 interceptions. He averaged 7.1 yards per pass and 248 passing yards per game.
In 2022, Carr tossed for 3,522 yards, which was his lowest total since 2017, but he sat out the final two games after the team benched him. At that point, the Raiders also expressed an interest in going in an entirely new direction behind center.
The question this offseason, though, is whether Carr will be interested in the Colts. Clearly, the team is not a quarterback away from contending for the Super Bowl.
Also, if Indianapolis’ plan is to sign a veteran signal caller to be a mere stop gap until the team’s rookie quarterback is ready, then it’s likely that Carr will not have the Colts at the top of his possible destinations list.