Tom Brady will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback for as long as the legend would like, but his brief retirement last offseason shows his career could be nearing the end after the 2022 season. The Bucs may be in the market for a new quarterback in 2023, and Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed suggests the Raiders could explore trading Derek Carr. It is important to note that Carr has a no-trade clause, so the veteran would have to agree to any potential deal, per NFL.com.
If Las Vegas does look to trade Carr, the team likely needs to make it happen before the Super Bowl to avoid the quarterback’s $32.9 million salary becoming fully guaranteed for 2023. The challenge is the Buccaneers are unlikely to have an answer from Brady on his future until well into the offseason.
“The Raiders ‘committed to’ quarterback Derek Carr with a three-year contract extension this offseason worth $120.5 million with $24.9 million guaranteed at signing,” Kyed wrote on November 16, 2022. “Only his $17.4 million 2022 salary and a $7.5 million signing bonus were fully guaranteed. His $32.9 million 2023 salary and $7.5 million of his $41.9 million 2024 salary are currently guaranteed for injury. Those become fully guaranteed three days after this season’s Super Bowl.
“If head coach Josh McDaniels is retained for the 2023 season despite Las Vegas’ early-season struggles — which is the current expectation — it wouldn’t be surprising to see someone fall on the sword. And there has been speculation around the NFL that it could be Carr via a trade.
“…The Raiders would be wise to find a trade partner before the Super Bowl so as to ensure they wouldn’t be stuck with his $32.9 million salary in 2023.”
What Would a Trade for Carr Cost the Bucs?
Carr’s new three-year, $121 million contract means the Buccaneers may be able to get a bit of a discount on the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback. The veteran signal-caller has thrown for 2,128 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 62.4% through his first nine games this season. Carr has put up solid numbers, but the challenge is the Raiders are at the bottom of the AFC West at just 2-7.
The Buccaneers may only need to trade a second-round pick to land Carr, per Kyed. The relatively low price for a Pro Bowl quarterback is tied to the $32.9 million, $41.9 million and $41.2 million salaries for each of the next three seasons. It would make sense for Las Vegas to at least be looking for an additional mid-round pick as well in exchange for Carr. Here is how Kyed laid out Carr’s current trade value.
“’I do think someone will trade for him, but the price will be driven down by the remaining term and that $40 million guarantee they will inherit,’” a league source said.
“The source predicted Carr could garner a second-round pick plus. It will be interesting to see if teams are as willing to trade for veteran quarterbacks this offseason given the lack of success those acquired via trade — such as Wentz, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield — have had this season.”
The Buccaneers Are Projected to Be More Than $49 Million Over the Cap in 2023
Tampa Bay is only a potential landing spot for Carr if Brady either signs with a new team or retires this offseason. Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht would need to do some salary cap gymnastics to be able to trade for Carr or another veteran quarterback. Spotrac projects the Bucs to be more than $49 million over the salary cap in 2023.
That said, the Bucs are going to have to do some salary cap maneuvering even to re-sign Brady to a new contract. Unless Tampa Bay plans to roll with Kyle Trask, the team will need to get creative to afford their QB1 in 2023.
“The Bucs are already $49 million over the 2023 salary cap — only the Saints are in worse shape — and that’s before they bring back any of their 23 unrestricted free agents, from major stars such as Brady and Lavonte David to emerging young players like Jamel Dean, Mike Edwards and Anthony Nelson,” The Athletic’s Greg Auman detailed on November 17.
“The dead money for Brady alone is $35 million, and the Bucs can push some of that to 2024 as long as he simply retires and doesn’t sign with another team. They have huge money committed to players who will be coming off major injuries, like Shaq Barrett ($14.2 million) and Ryan Jensen ($12.5 million). Especially if Brady isn’t back (as is widely presumed), the Bucs will have difficult decisions to make with other veteran leaders and whether it’s best to bring them back.”
Tampa Bay will have plenty of competition this offseason if they suddenly are in the market for a new quarterback. Kyed labels the Texans along with potentially eight additional franchises as looking for a new QB1 for 2023, including the Buccaneers.
“There could be many more teams looking for starting quarterbacks this offseason, including the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Commanders,” Kyed added. “And there are only so many starting-caliber quarterbacks available in the 2023 NFL Draft.”