The Las Vegas Raiders have officially released Derek Carr, avoiding $40.4 million in contract guarantees. The veteran quarterback will head straight to free agency and can sign with a team whenever he wants. After nine years with the Raiders, choosing his next team will be a big decision for the quarterback.
There will be no shortage of teams interested in him. Though things ended poorly with the Raiders, he’s proven in the past that he can be a top-12 quarterback in the NFL. There are teams that just need average to above-average quarterback play to make it to the playoffs. For the first time in his career, Carr will be able to test his value in free agency. Heavy Sports’ Matt Lombardo discussed a number of the top fits for the quarterback and had some interesting insight.
Jets a Good Personnel Fit?
The first team that Lombardo mentions as a fit is the New York Jets. They were perhaps the first team to be linked to the quarterback when things started to sour in Las Vegas. The Jets were primed for a playoff run this year before bad quarterback play tanked their chances. They were 7-4 before going on a six-game losing streak to end the season and finishing 7-10. Much of that was due to inconsistent play from quarterbacks Zach Wilson and Mike White.
New York has a great defense. They allowed 18.6 points a game, which was the fourth-best in the NFL. They also have the Offensive Rookie of the Year in wide receiver Garrett Wilson. The Jets could be a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender. One executive Lombardo spoke to sees New York as a strong offensive fit for Carr.
“The Jets give Derek the best offensive personnel,” an anonymous AFC executive told Lombardo.
Could Falcons Make a Run at Carr?
The Falcons haven’t been talked about much as a landing spot for Carr. He wants to go a winner and Atlanta has missed the playoffs in five-straight seasons. However, they do have some interesting pieces. Wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts were both top-10 draft picks in recent years. They could be elite players if they have the right quarterback. Lombardo sees Atlanta as a good fit for Carr and spoke to an AFC scout who agrees.
“The Falcons would give him lots of firepower around him,” an AFC South scout told Lombardo.
Buccaneers Need a Tom Brady Replacement
Lombardo believes that Buccaneers could be interested in Carr and that makes some sense. With Tom Brady retiring this offseason, the team needs a quarterback. They have a good offensive line and a great wide receiver duo in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
What could concern Carr is that Todd Bowles is a defensive-minded head coach and the team was underwhelming in 2022. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was fired and they have yet to replace him. It’s hard to imagine Carr would be thrilled to sign with a team before they have an offensive coordinator set.
Colts Could Take a Stab at Another Veteran QB
The Indianapolis Colts have been taking chances on veteran quarterbacks ever since Andrew Luck retired and it hasn’t worked out well. It’s not a strategy that has yielded the best results. The team has made the playoffs once in four years and they were knocked out in the Wild Card round the year they did make it.
Lombardo believes the Colts are a fit but owner Jim Irsay suggested that a young quarterback could be the top option this year. Indianapolis holds the No. 4 pick so they will be in a prime position to land one of the top prospects. Carr is unlikely to be who the Colts pursue heavily.