Saints Land Carr, What Does This Do for Offense?
The New Orleans Saints and their fans spent most of last season wondering when their quarterback situation would improve. Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton simply weren’t getting it done and everyone knew it would be an exciting off-season. With stars like Aaron Rogers and Lamar Jackson seemingly looking to move on from their respective franchises and other players, like Jimmy Garoppolo, potentially on the move, there were several options for the Saints to explore. However, The Saints knew exactly who they wanted to lead their offense. Former Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr. So, was this a good or a bad move by the New Orleans Saints?
The Good, The Bad, or the Perfect
Most fans would look at the quarterback movement around the NFL this offseason and ask why the Saints would take Carr when they could make a move for someone like Aaron Rogers or Lamar Jackson. Derek Carr is a solid quarterback, but he’s not Rogers or Jackson. Well, there are a couple of reasons.
First off, the Saints wanted Carr. New Orleans’s newest head coach Dennis Allen was the head coach of the Raiders organization when they drafted Carr. Allen has worked with Carr before and, even though he wasn’t Carr’s head coach for long in Oakland, Allen made it known that he wanted to work with the former Fresno State Bulldog.
As far as players like Rogers and Jackson go, it is unlikely that the Saints would have landed either star. The big problem with Lamar Jackson is that he is demanding a fully guaranteed contract. It’s the only reason his future with the Ravens is in jeopardy and since Baltimore placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, teams like Atlanta and Carolina have withdrawn their interest. As for Aaron Rogers, New Orleans likely doesn’t have enough trade value to compete with other teams to get the legendary quarterback.
Is Derek Carr Really an Upgrade?
Many fans may also be asking if Carr is really a big upgrade. With the Raiders, Carr only led the team to three .500 or better seasons out of nine. Carr was also benched for the last two games last season. Not a good look. However, if you look at the context of the issue, it becomes clear that this was not all Derek Carr’s fault. During Carr’s time in Oakland/Las Vegas, the coaching situation was in constant flux. The Raiders have had five different head coaches in the last ten years. With the consistency of the Saints staff and front office, who have had two head coaches since 2006, Carr will be in a much better situation.
In addition, when you look at the stats, Carr was actually a very good quarterback on a very bad Raiders team. In his nine seasons, Carr became the Raiders’ all-time passing leader with 35,222 passing yards and 217 touchdowns. He made four pro-bowls and threw for over 4,000 yards in four of the last five seasons. Carr also outperformed the Saints’ entire quarterback room despite being benched for the last two games of the season. Dalton, Winston, and Hill all threw for 3,969 yards and 24 touchdowns in 17 games. In just 15 games and plenty of locker room issues, Carr threw for 3,522 and 24 touchdowns. Long story short, Derek Carr is definitely an upgrade for New Orleans.
How Do the Saints Improve?
With a solid defense and a stellar quarterback, the Saints are well on their way to a bounce-back season. However, there is still work to do; mainly on offense. The Saints have had to deal with an unfortunate legal situation involving their star running back Alvin Kamara, who also had a down year last season. The run game can wait.
What the Saints really need to address, in terms of personnel, is their receiving core. Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas are likely to leave New Orleans in free agency, leaving just Chris Olave as a main target for Derek Carr. That just won’t do. New Orleans will have to bring in talent for Carr to throw to, so, why not someone he already has? Mack Hollins spent last year with the Raiders and played well. While his stats weren’t eye-popping, Hollins and Carr seemed to gel well, and Hollins was always a deep ball threat for Vegas.
The Saints can also improve at tight end for Derek Carr. Carr found a lot of success with the Raiders’ tight ends Darren Waller and Foster Moreau, finding his tight ends for a combined 808 yards and five touchdowns. New Orleans currently has a tight end in Adam Trautman but could use an upgrade. Who better than a former target for Carr in Foster Moreau? Moreau is a free agent in a solid tight-end class. He broke out last year when Darren Waller missed time and actually outperformed Waller. It also doesn’t hurt that Moreau is a former LSU Tiger. Moreau could be a solid pass catcher and threat in the middle of the field, while Hollins and Olave spread the defense out wide. The Saints definitely aren’t done this off-season and there are many exciting moves they can make.