The Derek Carr race is on. Three teams are set to meet with the veteran free agent during combine week, but one team believes they’re in front.
The NFL Draft Combine is here, and naturally, things are all about Derek Carr and the NFL rumors around him. The New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and Carolina Panthers all intend to meet with the veteran quarterback.
The Saints and Jets have already hosted Carr on official visits. The Panthers have been in touch with Carr but will be making their first in-person pitch to him in Indianapolis. That also leaves at least two unnamed teams with a baseline level of interest considering
So far, we know to expect that the Carr free agency won’t necessarily be quick. Reportedly, Carr’s taking his time and is expected to be incredibly analytical with his decision.
Going into combine week, it’s been reported that one team feels they have a lead over the others interested in Carr.
Saints believe they are the front-runners to sign Derek Carr
In a column going into the combine, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football reported that “behind the scenes” the Saints have confidence in where they are positioned (subscription required).
The reasoning for that is clear: The Jets have interest in another quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) and the Panthers are close enough to the top of the draft that they are likely to split interest between free agent options, like Carr, and the possibility of trading up to land CJ Stroud or Bryce Young.
The Saints, to this point, are the only team with a truly focused interest in Carr (though there has been preliminary interest in Hendon Hooker, but he could be drafted as a backup to Carr, if anything). It’s impossible to say if that matters or not to Carr, but it does ostensibly give them an advantage and motivation to meet his desires, especially if they truly want him more.
To add to that, the Saints were the only team to attempt to trade for Carr while he was still a member of the Raiders. Their courting process has been the longest and most aggressive. For a guy like Carr who was just released, perhaps it’s important.
Their confidence is interesting considering the connecting of the dots on his desired salary seemed to suggest the Saints were out… But it turns out their open-market offer to Carr had yet to reach his desired contract, per Underhill’s column.
Still much to come on this front, and a lot could change, but the Saints are evidently confident in their chances to get Carr in free agency.