Derek Carr has made his free-agent decision. The former Las Vegas Raiders quarterback has agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints on a four-year contract.
The Saints officially announced the news Monday after NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported the deal had been in the works.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the deal is for four years and $150 million and it's reportedly structured to give the Saints salary cap relief. Carr will end up getting at least $60 million guaranteed (with a chance to earn up to $100 million) and has a full no-trade clause, just as he did in Vegas.
The #Saints & Derek Carr agreed on a 4-yr deal for $150M with $100M in total guarantees, per me & @MikeGarafolo. He gets $70M effectively fully guaranteed ($60M at signing, another $10M in Year 3 vesting after Year 1). Carr structures his deal to accommodate Saints’ cap issues. pic.twitter.com/vs6qaBh7rg
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2023
Carr, 31, comes to the Saints after spending nine years as the starting QB for the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders. They took him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and over the course of nearly a decade he became the franchise's all-time passing leader and led the Raiders to their only two playoff appearances since 2002.
In 2021, Carr had the best season of his career and it seemed like he would be with the Raiders forever. He threw for a career-high 4,804 yards on the way to Vegas' first playoff appearance since 2016. The Raiders were so impressed that they signed him to a three-year, $121.5 million contract extension.
Unfortunately, 2021 was followed by one of Carr's worst seasons. In 2022, he completed just 60.8 percent of his passes (his lowest since completing 58.1 percent of his passes in his rookie year) and threw 14 interceptions in just 15 games. Head coach Josh McDaniels benched Carr over the final two games of the season in favor of Jarrett Stidham.
The Saints are still struggling to replace future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, which is why they need Carr. He's a solid professional quarterback with a relatively clean injury history, something they haven't had since Brees retired following the 2020 season.
Everyone gets what they need in this agreement. Carr signs as a starter and gets a clean slate in New Orleans. The Saints get a dependable (if middling) starting QB who will keep them relatively competitive until they find a long-term solution.