Derek Carr landing spots 2023: Jets, Colts among best fits as Raiders look to trade long-time QB

By | January 12, 2023

It looks like Derek Carr’s time with the Raiders is coming to an end.

On Thursday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Raiders would look to trade Carr during the 2023 NFL offseason.

And shortly thereafter, Carr posted a lengthy message on his social media accounts saying goodbye to Raiders fans.

“It’s especially hard to say goodbye because I can honestly say that I gave you everything I have, every single day, in season, and in the off season,” Carr wrote. “It certainly wasn’t perfect but I hope that I was able to leave you with more than a few great memories as Raider fans.”

It isn’t a surprise that the Raiders are preparing to move on from Carr. The team benched him for the final two games of its disappointing 2022 season, during which it went 6-11 despite entering the year with playoff aspirations.

MORE: Why did the Raiders bench Derek Carr? Breaking down Las Vegas’ surprising decision

That signaled that Carr was getting scapegoated for Las Vegas’ issues in its first year under Josh McDaniels. The team also was looking to protect his health for any potential trade which is why undrafted rookie Chase Garbers, not Carr, served as a backup in the final two games.

Carr’s run as the Raiders starter lasted nine years. It began immediately after he was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and lasted until he was benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham to close the 2022 season. Carr had started 143 of a possible 146 games before his benching.

Carr should garner interest from several teams on the trade block. After all, he has been a solid starting quarterback during his career, posting a 63-79 record with a 64.6 completion percentage, 35,222 passing yards, 217 touchdowns and 99 interceptions.

But where could Carr land? Here are a handful of spots that could make sense for the soon-to-be 32-year-old veteran with his time in Las Vegas coming to an end.

Derek Carr landing spots for 2023

New York Jets

It’s no secret that the Jets are going to be looking for a quarterback during the 2023 NFL offseason. Zach Wilson has been a major bust to date after being the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and was benched in favor of Mike White, who is set to be a free agent. The team could re-sign White but even if it does, New York may want a more proven commodity at quarterback.

Carr has had some accuracy issues in 2022 that will make some Jets fans shudder, but he has generally been a solid, capable passer who can get his team to the playoffs. The Jets may prefer to pursue Jimmy Garoppolo, but Carr certainly wouldn’t be a bad fallback option.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts haven’t been afraid to acquire veteran quarterbacks in recent offseasons. They signed Philip Rivers in 2020, traded for Carson Wentz in 2021 and traded for Matt Ryan in 2022 while parting ways with Wentz. Indianapolis could look to break that cycle if it lands an early draft pick, but if not, Carr could be of interest to them.

Carr’s 14 interceptions, good for second-worst in the league, could be a drawback for the Colts, as Matt Ryan, Nick Foles and Sam Ehlinger have struggled with turnovers and sacks in 2022. Still, if the team’s next coach believes he can get Carr back on a more accurate track, Carr could draw consideration for this opening.

MORE: Where is Philip Rivers now? Former Chargers, Colts starter embraces role away from NFL

Carolina Panthers

Carolina is similar to the other teams atop this list in that it shuffled its starting quarterback frequently over the last five seasons. Sam Darnold has actually been solid in his opportunities during the 2022 season, but he is set to be a free agent after the season.

As such, the Panthers could look to find an upgrade if they don’t believe Darnold, 25, is worth re-signing. Carr would pair well with D.J. Moore and could find more success in Carolina’s ground-dominant attack than he did in Las Vegas.

Washington Commanders

The Commanders were teetering on the edge of playoff contention again despite having minimal talent at the quarterback position. Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke rank 33rd and 37th out of 38 qualified passers according to Pro Football Focus; as such, improving this position will be of the utmost importance to Ron Rivera in 2023 — unless Sam Howell’s strong start convinced him that the UNC product can be the guy at quarterback.

Washington’s offense is built to win now. It has plenty of weapons — including Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel — so it can afford to deal assets for a quarterback more than some other teams might.

Meanwhile, Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was Carr’s head coach from 2015 through 2017, a time during which Carr made three consecutive Pro Bowls. Del Rio could know a bit of what makes Carr tick, so that relationship could make Washington the best landing spot on this list.

It’s also notable that the Commanders have an opening at offensive coordinator. If that is filled by a coach who has worked well with Carr in the past — like Rams senior offensive assistant Greg Olson — that could make him an even better fit.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints are another team that has a connection to Carr, albeit a shorter one than that of Del Rio. Head coach Dennis Allen coached the Raiders from 2012 to 2014, and he was the one who made Carr a rookie starter. Allen lasted just four games that season, but clearly, he saw enough in Carr at that time to roll with him.

Carr could fit well in New Orleans given that the Saints need an upgrade over 35-year-old Andy Dalton that Jameis Winston hasn’t provided. The Saints would have to work hard to open the cap space needed to pursue Carr, but without a first-round pick, this could be their best path to a quarterback upgrade.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A third NFC South team? Why not? The Buccaneers could lose Tom Brady to free agency after the season and if they do, they may want to find a veteran quarterback capable of keeping their playoff chances afloat.

Carr may not be a perfect fit for the Buccaneers’ pass-happy offense, but he would have plenty of weapons at his disposal to find success in 2023. Plus, the Bucs offensive line would be healthier, so he would probably get better protection than Brady has gotten thus far this season.

Either way, Tampa Bay could sell its fans that getting Carr should do enough to keep them in the playoff picture, especially with the bleak state of the NFC South quarterback rooms.

New England Patriots

Here’s an outside-the-box idea for the Raiders. Mac Jones’ second season with the Patriots hasn’t gone as planned, and New England’s next steps to fix the offense aren’t yet known. It’s expected that the team will hire a new offensive coordinator to oversee the unit, but could they look to move on from Jones, too? It’s at least a possibility.

If that happens, McDaniels may be content to reunite with Jones, who performed well as a rookie under the tutelage of the then-Patriots offensive coordinator. If so, executing a Carr for Jones swap may interest both sides.

This scenario would require the Patriots to value Carr’s skill set, and whether they do is still unknown. Still, it’s something that shouldn’t be counted out, especially considering that Carr should be able to take advantage of the ground-dominant offense that the Patriots run.

Either way, there should be no shortage of interest in Carr. Even if he isn’t the best quarterback available on the market, he is a viable starting option. As we saw during the 2022 NFL offseason, that will be enough to land him with a new team as the Raiders look to swing a deal.