Derek Carr

Saints Rework Contracts Of Derek Carr, Nathan Shepherd

After reworking Erik McCoy‘s contract earlier this week, the Saints continue to carve out cap space. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Saints have restructured quarterback Derek Carr‘s contract, opening around $23MM in cap space. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Field Yates adds that the team also restructured defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd‘s deal, clearing another $3MM in space.

[RELATED: Saints Restructure C Erik McCoy’s Contract]

Carr inked a four-year, $150MM contract with the Saints last offseason. According to Jason Fitzgerald of, the Saints likely converted the maximum ($28.79MM) of Carr’s $30MM salary into a bonus, reducing the quarterback’s cap number from $35.7MM to $12.67MM in the process.

Of course, this instant relief will have an impact on the team’s future cap sheets. Per Greg Auman of FOX Sports, this recent restructure effectively assures that Carr will be sticking around New Orleans through at least the 2025 campaign. Next offseason, the Saints will be faced with paying Carr around $40MM, or they’ll be left with an untenable $50MM in dead cap by moving on. Fitzgerald adds that the recent cap machination boosts Carr’s future cap hits by around $5.76MM per season, and his $51.46MM cap number for the 2025 campaign now ranks fifth in the NFL.

Shepherd also joined New Orleans last offseason, inking a three-year, $15MM deal. He proceeded to have a career year, compiling 50 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 17 starts. While Pro Football Focus wasn’t fond of his performance in 2023, they did grade him as one of the better pass-rushing interior defenders in the NFL.

When accounting for the reworked deals for Carr, Shepherd, and McCoy, the Saints have opened up around $33MM in cap space this week…and they may not be done. Fowler reported yesterday that the team is expected to also rework the contract of offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz. Even with all their recent moves, the Saints still need to do a lot of work to become cap compliant. The team entered the offseason around $83MM over the cap.

NFC South Notes: Fitterer, Mayfield, Saints

With the Panthers bottoming out and David Tepper firing another head coach, it has seemed likely the team will move on from its GM as well. Given Tepper’s comments, it is worth wondering how much power Scott Fitterer has held since Matt Rhule‘s October 2022 firing. But Fitterer is clearly on a hot seat in Carolina. Following Frank Reich‘s ouster, the team should be expected to move on from its third-year GM, per the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora. Fitterer ran point on the decision to reject the Rams’ two-first-rounder offer for Brian Burns before the 2022 trade deadline, and his negotiations with Ryan Poles led to the March blockbuster for the Bryce Young draft slot.

Of course, it is widely believed Tepper drove the Panthers’ effort to select Young first overall. That process will lead to the Bears holding the Panthers’ 2024 first-round pick, which currently checks in at No. 1 overall. Fitterer hot-seat rumors surfaced before Reich’s firing, and although a November report pointed to Tepper keeping his GM around to help attract Lions OC Ben Johnson shed light on a possible lifeline for the ex-Seahawks exec, a 2024 housecleaning seems likelier given the events of 2023.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Baker Mayfield signed a one-year, $4MM Buccaneers deal in March, earning a starting job despite a rough 2022. Incentives exist in the sixth-year quarterback’s contract, and Fox Sports’ Greg Auman notes he has cashed in on some of those already. Mayfield has collected $500K by staying in the Bucs’ lineup, with Auman noting the team included $250K bumps for hitting the 55%, 65%, 75% and 85% snap rates. Mayfield staying healthy the rest of the way would lead to him adding $1MM in incentives. Additionally, Auman indicates a bonus exists for a Bucs playoff win. Although the Bucs are 6-7, they currently hold the NFC West tiebreaker. Mayfield is interested in staying with the Bucs beyond this season, though no known extension talks have occurred yet.
  • One of Mayfield’s current division rivals has not enjoyed a healthy season. Derek Carr has sustained two concussions and dealt with shoulder trouble, but the Saints‘ big-ticket QB addition has not missed a start. In addition to the head and shoulder issues, Carr has sustained three rib fractures this year, per’s Brooke Kirchhofer. In 10 seasons, Carr has only missed three career games due to injury. But his playing hurt has affected the Saints this season. While Carr’s completion percentage is up significantly from 2022, his QBR has dropped. Given a four-year, $150MM contract that includes $70MM fully guaranteed, Carr ranks 23rd in QBR through 13 games.
  • Michael Thomas has once again seen an injury take him out of New Orleans’ equation. The eighth-year wide receiver, who has dealt with persistent injury issues during the 2020s, is on IR with a knee injury. The former All-Pro will be eligible to be activated in Week 16, but’s Nick Underhill doubts he comes back until at least the Saints’ regular-season finale. Should that game not mean anything for the team, Thomas would have little incentive to return. The 30-year-old pass catcher’s 10 games this season are his most since 2019, but he has now missed 43 games since the 2020 season.
  • As Carr dealt with the first of his 2023 injuries, New Orleans attempted to sign a player off Denver’s practice squad. The Saints tried to add Ben DiNucci off the Broncos’ P-squad in September, per the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson. DiNucci, who returned to the NFL after an XFL run, opted to stay where he was for continuity purposes. After DiNucci’s decision, the Saints added Jake Luton to their 53-man roster instead. DiNucci said the Broncos are expected to make up the difference he would have made as part of the Saints’ active roster. Denver elevated DiNucci in Week 13, allowing him to pick up a $48K game check. Doing so two more times would match the total DiNucci would have earned while on the Saints’ 53-man roster for the mandated three weeks.

Derek Carr Clears Concussion Protocol

DECEMBER 8: Carr will once again avoid an absence following an injury. The durable veteran has cleared concussion protocol and will start in Week 14,’s Nick Underhill reports. Carr sustained a shoulder injury in Week 3 but returned the following week. He suffered a concussion in Week 10, but the Saints had a Week 11 bye. Despite a shorter time period to clear the protocol this week, Carr will be back under center when the Saints face the Panthers.

A two-concussion season presents concerns for the 32-year-old passer, but he has proven dependable throughout his career in terms of availability. Carr missed only two regular-season games due to injury during his nine-year Raiders run.

DECEMBER 4: For the second time this season, Derek Carr was forced to exit a game with an injury which has landed him in concussion protocol. The Saints’ starting quarterback is thus in danger of missing game action for the first time in his debut New Orleans campaign, but no firm decisions have been made yet on that front.

Head coach Dennis Allen said after Sunday’s loss that Carr was still being evaluated and that no thought had been given to shutting him down for the remainder of the season (h/t Matthew Paras of the Times-Picayune). Carr has been dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the year, and Allen added the veteran also has a rib injury (via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).

Playing much of the year at less than 100% health, Carr’s debut Saints season has not gone according to plan. Expectations were high for the four-time Pro Bowler after he arrived on a four-year, $150MM deal with $60MM guaranteed at signing. He has struggled this year, however, posting a passer rating of 89.4, one of several figures which falls short of his career averages. Carr has overseen an offense which has struggled to find a rhythm on the ground or through the air for much of the season.

The 32-year-old drew the ire of the home crowd during the Saints’ Week 13 loss as frustrations from a disappointing season boiled over. New Orleans could elect to make a short-term switch under center in a move which would see Jameis Winston take over the No. 1 role. The latter was similarly sidelined midseason in 2022 after he dealt with multiple injuries, remaining a backup to Andy Dalton even after being cleared to return.

“I think both of those are totally different situations,” Allen said in his post-game remarks“They’re both totally different situations. We’re not getting into what we did last year and what we’re doing this year, alright? Look, Derek’s in the concussion protocol right now. We will evaluate that as we go.”

Allen noted his “concern” over Carr suffering a concussion for the second time in one month. Winston would be in line to take on starting duties in Week 14 if the Saints were forced to keep the high-priced passer sidelined for at least one game, but a decision in that regard will depend in large part on Carr’s ability to clear the protocol. The Saints’ QB situation will be worth watching closely over the coming days.

Saints Place CB Marshon Lattimore On IR; Derek Carr Clears Concussion Protocol

The Saints’ offense will be without wideout Michael Thomas for an extended stretch after he was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. The same is now true of cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

The latter was moved to IR on Saturday, per a team announcement. Like Thomas, Lattimore exited the Saints’ loss to the Vikings and was subsequently deemed to have suffered a “signficant injury.” The ankle ailment kept Lattimore out of practice this week, and New Orleans will elect to shut him down during a pivotal point in the campaign. He will be forced to miss at least four weeks as a result of today’s move.

Lattimore’s absence will be acutely felt given his importance to the Saints’ secondary. That unit has helped New Orleans rank seventh in the league in passing yards allowed per game (199); he has also recorded one of the team’s 12 interceptions, a figure which places the team second in the NFL. The four-time Pro Bowler has had another strong season in 2023 with 48 tackles, eight pass deflections and a 57.4% completion percentage allowed.

Fellow starters Paulson Adebo and Alontae Taylor will be leaned on more heavily at the CB spot moving forward with Lattimore facing a lengthy injury absence for the second consecutive season. A lacerated kidney and broken ribs led to a 10-game stay on the sidelines last year, though Lattimore did not go on IR in that case. With him now guaranteed to be shelved for at least a medium-term stretch, veteran Isaac Yiadom (who has primarily played on special teams) could be in line to take on a starting role.

In more positive injury news, quarterback Derek Carr cleared concussion protocol on Thursday. He is thus in line to suit up tomorrow after exiting the Saints’ Week 12 game. With the team’s bye week having come and gone, Carr’s throwing shoulder – which was banged up earlier in the campaign – should also be healthier, which could lead to improvement in the passing game on offense. That would be a welcomed development for the 5-5 Saints as they look to maintain their lead in the NFC South down the stretch.

In addition to placing Lattimore on IR, the Saints made defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul a gameday elevation. The two-time Super Bowl winner signed last week to New Orleans’ practice squad, and it comes as no surprise that he will quickly be eligible to make his Saints debut. Fullback Adam Prentice was also elevated to the gameday roster for tomorrow’s contest against the Falcons.

Saints’ Derek Carr In Concussion Protocol; CB Marshon Lattimore, WR Michael Thomas Facing “Signficant Injuries”

The Saints exited Week 10 with a loss and the absence of three key players. Head coach Dennis Allen addressed the status of quarterback Derek Carr, cornerback Marshon Lattimore and receiver Michael Thomas on Monday.

Carr underwent testing on his shoulder, but no damage has been done on that front, Allen announced. That is a welcomed development given the AC joint sprain the 32-year-old suffered earlier in the season. However, Carr is in the league’s concussion protocol. His ability to clear the protocol will be worth watching closely, but with New Orleans on the bye in Week 11, the four-time Pro Bowler has plenty of time to receive clearance.

Veteran backup Jameis Winston filled in for Carr to close out yesterday’s game. The former delivered a performance on par with what one would expect from the former No. 1 pick (122 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 13-of-25 passing), helping bring New Orleans close to a comeback against the Vikings. Allen reiterated – as he did in his post-game remarks – however, that Carr will remain the undisputed starter when healthy.

Allen indicated the news for Lattimore and Thomas is less encouraging. He said (via Greg Auman of Fox Sports) that both veterans suffered “fairly signficant injuries,” adding that they are not considered season-ending. Each Pro Bowler is seeking a second opinion before deciding on a course of action. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports Lattimore is dealing with a high ankle sprain, as was originally indicated. He is week-to-week as a result.

Thomas exited the Minnesota game after only two offensive snaps due to a knee injury. Given his history of missed time, Allen’s remarks could very well point to an new absence being in play despite the bye week coming at a favorable time. Thomas last played a full season in 2019, the year in which he set the league’s single-season record for receptions in a campaign (149). The two-time All-Pro has rebounded to a degree from numerous ailments since then with 448 yards on 39 catches this season. He has yet to miss a game in 2023.

Sitting at 5-5, the Saints lead the NFC South, so a quick recovery from each veteran would be a major development for their playoff push. Likewise, any notable absences would deal a blow to a team which has struggled to find consistency on offense in particular during the year. Further evaluations for Lattimore and Thomas will be worth watching for as they will shed light on potential recovery timelines.

NFL Injury Roundup: Saints, Watson, Heinicke, Thibodeaux

The Saints played much of the second half of their loss to the Vikings today without quarterback Derek Carr after the veteran passer took a nasty-looking hit from Danielle Hunter. It was announced that he was out for the remainder of the game with an injury to his throwing shoulder and that he was being evaluated for a concussion, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Further reports, provided by Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football, claimed that while the initial belief is that Carr avoided a major shoulder injury, he will undergo more tests in order to determine the severity. Head coach Dennis Allen told the media that Carr was only held out of the game because of a concussion, per ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, and refused to comment any further on the situation.

In Carr’s absence, former starter Jameis Winston performed admirably. He only completed just over half of his pass attempts for 122 yards and threw two interceptions, but he also threw the team’s two touchdowns in order to bring the Saints within spitting distance of the Vikings. Despite Winston’s seemingly superior effectiveness, Allen assured the media that, when Carr is healthy, there is no quarterback competition.

Lastly, veteran cornerback Marshon Lattimore left the game, as well, with what is believed to be an ankle sprain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. He will undergo an MRI tomorrow in order to determine the severity of his ankle injury.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the NFL:

  • Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was forced to leave the field at times today during the Browns come-from-behind victory over the division-rival Ravens. He suffered an ankle injury late in the first half of the contest and, though he remained in the game for stretches at a time, he was noticeably limping at times. After the game, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported that Watson was in a walking boot. Watson claimed that while “he doesn’t feel great now…(he’ll) be fine” and should be ready to go next weekend.
  • Yet another quarterback was forced to leave their game today due to injury when the Falcons‘ new starting passer, Taylor Heinicke, was forced to leave early in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. This required Atlanta to return to former starter Desmond Ridder for the remainder of the contest. Ridder was fairly effective, leading the Falcons on a touchdown drive before failing to convert the two-point attempt that would’ve given the team a three-point lead. The team would go on to lose by those two points after Arizona kicked a game-winning field goal. This likely doesn’t change the team’s quarterback situation, if Heinicke is healthy enough to play, but hamstring injuries can be lingering and might open up more opportunities for Ridder.
  • In a blowout loss to Dallas this afternoon, Giants outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux was knocked out of the game with a concussion, per NFL Network’s Jane Slater. Thibodeaux’s absence opened up some playing opportunities for Boogie Basham, who saw an increased role due to injuries last week, as well.

More Raiders Fallout: McDaniels, Ziegler, Davis, Harbaugh, Brady, Kelly

When the Raiders begin the search for a new head coach and general manager to replace Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, they could have a difficult time attracting the most desirable talent. Per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required), owner Mark Davis vowed that he would give the duo a minimum of three years to return the Raiders to contention, but he fired them midway through their second season. Once seen as a patient owner, Davis has undermined his reputation in that regard, and most of the coaches and execs that Howe spoke with believe that the quick trigger will have a negative impact on his search.

One executive said, “I don’t know who you’re going to convince to take those jobs. I think Mark Davis made it harder on himself,” while another added, “[i]t definitely makes the jobs less appealing.”

To be clear, Davis will likely have plenty of candidates to choose from thanks to the desirability and rarity of a top job in the NFL coaching and personnel ranks. Still, it would not be surprising for the biggest fish in the upcoming hiring cycle to rebuff Davis’ overtures.

“If you’re only going to give me two years, just be upfront and honest with me,” a rival coach said. “I can handle that. It’d change the entire way you’d try to build the team. If you’re thinking about setting up to take off and win by Year 3, that’s how you’re going to manage your roster.”

McDaniels, of course, is a proponent of “hard coaching,” and it appears he alienated many Raiders players with his demanding style. As Ian Rapoport of writes, players “ripped into” McDaniels during the team meeting in which he allowed his charges to air their grievances, and players were especially critical of (among other things) McDaniels’ micromanaging and the way he deflected blame for issues with play-calling. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer adds that interim HC Antonio Pierce attempted to speak on behalf of McDaniels at that meeting, but Pierce’s use of the Super Bowl-winning Giants team he played on as an example of what a good locker room culture can do irked McDaniels, who was part of the Patriots squad that lost that title game to New York (video link).

At the following practice, McDaniels attempted to give the players what they wanted by being less involved and not “overcorrecting” by stepping in after every mistake. However, one source told Rapoport that the new approach did not suit McDaniels well, that the head coach looked like “a shell of himself,” and that it was clear McDaniels’ tenure was coming to an end. Ultimately, McDaniels was unable to recapture the team chemistry that Tony Pauline of believes was destroyed when quarterback and team leader Derek Carr was released earlier this year.

The driving force behind Carr’s departure remains a bit unclear. Rapoport’s sources say that Davis “led the push” to replace Carr, with McDaniels and Ziegler eventually getting on board, while Pauline says McDaniels was the one who wanted to move on from the franchise’s longtime passer. Back in late December/early January, it was reported that the McDaniels-Ziegler regime saw Carr as a poor fit in McDaniels’ offense, and that while McDaniels was prepared to let Carr play out the remainder of the 2022 campaign, Davis — who had been “lukewarm” on Carr for some time — wanted the QB to be benched for the last two games of the season.

Even if, as Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports suggests, Davis and the McDaniels-Ziegler duo were aligned on the Carr situation, subsequent quarterback-related missteps accelerated this week’s firings (although it should be noted, as Rapoport writes, that former club president Dan Ventrelle agreed to include in Carr’s 2022 extension the no-trade clause that undermined the Raiders’ leverage when they tried to deal Carr this past offseason. Ventrelle entered into that agreement with Carr’s camp prior to speaking with other club officials). We already heard that McDaniels’ decision to start former Patriots QB Brian Hoyer over rookie Aidan O’Connell in Week 7 rankled Davis, and obviously the decision to sign another of McDaniels’ former pupils, Jimmy Garoppolo, proved to be a poor one, as McDaniels apparently overestimated the ease with which Garoppolo would reacclimate to McDaniels’ offense.

On the subject of Garoppolo, Rapoport reminds us that the Raiders were among the teams that tried to trade up for the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, with quarterback Bryce Young the target. However, McDaniels reportedly did not want to “grow with” a rookie signal-caller, so the Raiders stood down while the Panthers catapulted up the draft board to claim the No. 1 spot before free agency opened. McDaniels & Co. acquired Garoppolo shortly thereafter.

It has been an open secret that Ziegler, despite his general manager title, took a backseat to McDaniels in terms of personnel matters. Indeed, Pauline called Ziegler a “glorified scout” and likened the McDaniels-Ziegler pairing to the Jon-GrudenMike Mayock partnership that preceded it. So while Pauline reports that Davis will be interested in hiring University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, it is fair to wonder if that would be the best move for the owner to make. After all, Harbaugh would also want full autonomy over personnel decisions, and like Mayock and Ziegler, any GM brought in along with Harbaugh would be little more than a figurehead.

That is to say nothing of the fact that Harbaugh, who is currently dealing with allegations of an elaborate sign-stealing scheme after already having served a three-game suspension this year for alleged recruiting violations, may not be the hot NFL candidate he once was. Per Rapoport and colleague Tom Pelissero, the NCAA has not ruled on the alleged recruiting violations or sign-stealing operation — the three-game ban was imposed by Michigan — and the NFL may force Harbaugh to serve any NCAA-ordered suspension should he return to the pros. Mark Maske of the Washington Post, meanwhile, says it is not certain that the league would go that route.

Still, in light of the failures of the two prior regimes, a Harbaugh hire could be a tough sell for Davis. In fact, Jones writes that Davis will be seeking a “player-centric” coach rather than a coach with the hard-nosed styles of Harbaugh, Gruden, and McDaniels. Jones also believes Davis will seek to hire a GM before hiring an HC.

In any event, Davis has promised a “comprehensive search” for a new head coach, and Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal says Davis is being encouraged to hire a president of football operations to aid in the process. Ventrelle was replaced by Sandra Douglass Morgan in July 2022, and Jones writes that Morgan, along with longtime executive Tom Delaney and personnel man Ken Herock, will also offer counsel (though Pauline opines that most of Herock’s advice has led to “ruinous” decisions).

Jones echoes his recent report that Tom Brady will also influence Davis’ thinking. As expected, Brady’s would-be stake in the Raiders was not discussed at the league meetings last month, with Jones and Albert Breer of reporting that other owners take issue with the bargain price at which Davis is trying to sell a share of his club to Brady. Colts owner and finance committee member Jim Irsay told reporters, including Jori Epstein of Yahoo! Sports, “the number just had to be a reasonable number for purchase price.”

Breer adds that Brady’s broadcasting contract with FOX is also a hurdle to ratification of the purchase. Understandably, teams do not want anyone with an ownership stake in a rival outfit having the access and obtaining the inside information that broadcasters often enjoy, so much will need to change for Brady to be approved as a minority owner at the next league meetings in December.

Given Davis’ deep respect for Brady, it stands to reason that the all-time great will be an important voice in Davis’ ear regardless of his ownership status. And while much of the discussion about Las Vegas’ changing power structure has thus far focused upon who the next head coach will be, Pauline notes that there is a “groundswell” of support for interim general manager Champ Kelly to retain the GM post on a full-time basis. Kelly, a longtime Bears exec who has experience in both personnel and salary cap matters, has taken a number of GM interviews in recent years, and Davis recently admitted that Kelly might have gotten the Raiders’ GM job in 2022 if the package deal of McDaniels and Ziegler had not become available. Jones also names Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds as a candidate to monitor.

Despite Ziegler’s figurehead status in Nevada, Rapoport observes that McDaniels’ right-hand man nonetheless made strides in modernizing the personnel side of the Raiders’ operation, an effort that included hiring respected scouting minds, creating a scouting development program, and injecting “forward-thinking concepts on player development.” The next Raiders GM should therefore have something of a foundation to build upon.

Whether that person is Kelly or someone else remains to be seen, but in acknowledgment of their promotions, Davis reworked the contracts of both Kelly and Pierce, as Adam Schefter of reports. Those transactions added even more money to the whopping $85MM tab that Davis will have to pick up due to the McDaniels and Ziegler firings (though some of that amount will be offset should his former employees land new jobs elsewhere).

Davis is one of the league’s most cash-poor owners, so these hugely expensive maneuvers underscore the strength of his conviction that McDaniels and Ziegler were not the right men to lead the Raiders. As Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes, Davis also fired team COO Mike Newquist, whom he hired just three months ago. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk concedes that Newquist’s post is unrelated to the football side of the team, but he believes the immediate firing of a key employee will further add to the perception of dysfunction that presently surrounds Davis’ franchise.

One way or another, Raiders fans are in for a fascinating few months.

Raiders Fallout: Davis, Garoppolo, Brady

The Raiders made headlines early this morning when they fired head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. While the midseason shakeup may have come as a surprise to some, it probably didn’t shock many of the team’s veterans.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, owner Mark Davis had meetings with veteran players over the past week to better understand the team’s culture (or lack thereof). Albert Breer of echoes that report, noting that Davis was well aware of the players’ grievances. Even before the recent meetings, the firing started to feel “inevitable” within the organization, according to Breer. Davis was becoming increasingly “volatile and angry” with the team’s inconsistencies, and that ultimately led to his decision.

McDaniels was also aware of the problems in his locker room. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that the coach allowed players to raise their issues during a team meeting last week. Josh Jacobs, Maxx Crosby, and Davante Adams were among the veteran players who spoke up, with the latter also expressing his discontent following Monday’s loss to the Lions.

Breer has more details on what led to the eventual firings. There was a “particularly aggressive” postgame meeting between Davis and his staff after the Raiders beat the Packers in Week 5. Despite the win, the owner caught the attention of many because he was “so angry,” and his “reaction created an uneasy feeling” with coaches and scouts.

More notes out of Las Vegas…

  • The “disconnect” between Davis and McDaniels/Ziegler surrounding the Raiders quarterback situation played a major role in the dismissals, according to Dianna Russini, Vic Tafur, Tashan Reed, and Larry Holder of The Athletic. The decision that played the most significant role in the firings was when veteran Brian Hoyer started over rookie Aidan O’Connell in Week 7. Breer provided more context on that decision, noting that the Raiders believed Hoyer’s veteran game management would be advantageous against the Bears, who were rolling with a rookie of their own. Some coaches believed that O’Connell should get the call, and Hoyer proceeded to throw a pair of interceptions in an eventual loss.
  • According to Tafur, Davis had issues with Ziegler’s handling of the position before this season. The owner wasn’t a proponent of the extension that the GM gave to Derek Carr, and the accompanying no-trade clause meant the organization ultimately let the franchise quarterback walk without receiving any compensation. Ziegler didn’t do himself any favors by handing Jimmy Garoppolo $33MM in guaranteed money. The oft-injured QB later failed his physical and ultimately required surgery, and he’s proceeded to toss nine interceptions in his six games. The GM also might regret his decision to not target a rookie and spend the money elsewhere; per Tafur, the Raiders only liked Bryce Young heading into the draft.
  • Davis will now have a difficult choice to make on Garoppolo, and it goes beyond the decision to start O’Connell in Week 9. As Mike Florio of writes, it makes most sense for the organization to cut the veteran QB as soon as possible. Garoppolo has $11.25MM in injury guarantees that are due in March of 2024. The team could cut him after the Super Bowl and before the guarantee vests, but they’d be risking the QB suffering an injury during an upcoming game or practice.
  • Tom Brady isn’t yet an official part-owner of the Raiders, but the future Hall of Famer will be involved in the HC and GM hiring process, according to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. Of course, Brady has a relationship with both McDaniels and Ziegler, with the trio having won many Super Bowls together during their time in New England.

Saints QB Derek Carr To Start In Week 4

Derek Carr will be back under center for the Saints in the club’s Week 4 contest against the Buccaneers today, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Ian Rapoport of first reported that New Orleans’ QB1 had a good chance to play.

Carr, who signed a four-year, $150MM contract with the Saints in March shortly after his tenure with the Raiders came to an end, had guided his new team to a 2-0 record and a 17-0 lead in its Week 3 tilt with the Packers before sustaining a shoulder injury in the third quarter of that game. After Carr’s departure, backup Jameis Winston completed 10 of 16 passes for 101 yards, but the Saints were unable to add to their point total, and Green Bay rallied for an 18-17 win.

To be clear, New Orleans’ top-10 defense has been the primary catalyst for its 2-0 (and nearly 3-0) start. During his first two-and-a-half games in a Saints uniform, Carr has posted a mediocre 85.2 quarterback rating, completing roughly 65% of his throws for two TDs against two interceptions.

Still, the team will doubtlessly be happy to have its marquee offseason acquisition back in the fold, especially in light of the disappointing loss to the Packers. Carr, who was diagnosed with a sprained AC joint, has taken first-team reps in practice over the past two days and will suit up as long as the coaching staff believes he will be able to protect himself.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, who covered the Bucs during Winston’s five-year run with the club, recalled a time when Winston was dealing with an AC joint injury of his own. As Stroud notes, it will be interesting to see whether Carr, in his first game after suffering the injury, turns down open looks because he lacks the arm strength and/or confidence to make the throw.

Luckily for Carr, he will have running back Alvin Kamara back in the fold to handle short tosses out of the backfield and to otherwise take some pressure off of the passing game. Kamara will make his 2023 debut after serving a three-game suspension to start the season.

NFL Injury Updates: Carr, Kupp, Beckham

After taking a big shot to his throwing shoulder in a Week 3 loss to the Packers, Saints quarterback Derek Carr is reportedly unlikely to appear when New Orleans plays host to the Buccaneers this Sunday, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. Backup quarterback Jameis Winston is set to start in his place.

Carr wasn’t necessarily struggling in his debut season playing for any team other than the Raiders, but he wasn’t striving either. After winning the first two games of the season, Carr was only averaging 266.5 passing yards per game with one touchdown and two interceptions. Protection had been a bit of an issue as he had been sacked four times in each of his first two starts with the Saints. This past weekend, that questionable protection led to the shoulder injury that’s expected to hold him out of this week’s game.

Winston will now, once again, take the reins of the Saints’ offense. Over four years with the team, Winston has appeared in 15 games: five coming off the bench and 10 as a starter. In his first season as a full-time starter in New Orleans, Winston started the season 5-2 while throwing 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions before a torn ACL would end his 2021 season early. Last year, Winston started three games despite reports of fractures in his back and went 1-2 with four touchdowns and five interceptions before spending the rest of the season as QB2 behind Andy Dalton.

Winston will get his chance to prove he can still be an effective starter in the NFL this weekend while Carr recovers. According to Nick Underhill of, no consideration has taken place in respect to moving hybrid tight end Taysom Hill to quarterback this week.

Here are some other injury updates from around the league:

  • ESPN’s Sarah Barshop provided an update today on the recovery timeline of Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp. She reported that head coach Sean McVay told the media that it is “the hope” that Kupp will be able to come off of injured reserve as soon as he is eligible to in Week 5. Kupp has missed the first three games of the season due to a hamstring injury and will have to miss this weekend, too, due to his stint on IR. McVay was hesitant to make any promises that might pigeonhole his All-Pro wideout, but the update is surely encouraging news for the Rams’ offense.
  • The injury woes will continue a little longer for Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as ESPN’s Dan Graziano tells us that Beckham is likely to miss “another game or two” with the ankle injury that’s dogged him since the offseason. While Baltimore’s offense will have to do without Beckham, Graziano reports that running back Justice Hill has a chance to return this week from the toe injury that held him out of last week’s loss.