The Saints, however, were the first team to meet with Carr, hosting him on a visit before the Raiders released him. Carr ended up feeling “far more comfortable” with the Saints compared to the Jets, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes.
The NFC South offers a better path to a division title — something Carr did not accomplish with the Raiders, as Peyton Manning– and Patrick Mahomes-led teams stood in his way — compared to the AFC East, as the rest of the division is still navigating quarterback uncertainty. The Saints were also not waiting on Rodgers, with the Jets having communicated to Carr he was their second choice. As Rodgers continues to take his time, the Saints landed their top target. New Orleans’ media market is also a bit less frenzied compared to the Big Apple, an aspect that may or may not have influenced Carr’s comfort level.
Carr signed a four-year, $150MM deal to join a less menacing conference, in terms of QB talent, and his fourth NFL contract provides more long-term security compared to his 2022 Raiders re-up. Carr is locked in through 2024, with his signing bonus and 2023 and ’24 salaries being guaranteed at signing. Carr will see $10MM of his 2025 salary shift from an injury guarantee to a full guarantee in March 2024, Florio adds. All of Carr’s $40MM in 2025 — a roster bonus and $30MM base salary — is guaranteed for injury at signing.
This looks more like a two-year contract with a third-year option, with Carr effectively certain not to be attached to the deal by 2026. That year includes a $50MM nonguaranteed base salary, Florio adds. Year 4, however, drove the reported AAV up to $37.5MM per year. Carr was connected to wanting a deal north of $35MM on average. The 10th-year veteran landed it, and if his second act in the NFC goes well, this might not be the only Saints pact the former Raider signs.
Carr, 31, was interested in the Jets, and the sides met twice — in New York and in Indianapolis — but their timelines did not match up. Some among the Jets viewed Jimmy Garoppolo as a legitimate option before the front office locked onto Carr. If this Rodgers meeting does not produce alignment, louder Garoppolo noise figures to come out of New York soon. The Jets must wait until March 13 to speak with Garoppolo, however, as he is set to be an unrestricted free agent.
12:25pm: Details are in on the Carr deal, per Rapoport (Twitter link). The contract is worth $150MM over four years, good for an average annual value of $37.5MM; that figure ranks ninth in the league amongst QBs. In addition, the Saints are giving Carr $100MM in total guarantees, including $60MM guaranteed at signing (which rank 10th and 11th in the NFL at the position, respectively, and outweigh the $40MM the Raiders would have owed him had they not released him when they did). $10MM due in year three of the pact vests after one season, meaning the contract essentially contains $70MM fully guaranteed. Garafolo tweets that a no-trade clause is in place as well.
Rapoport adds that Carr agreed to structure the deal in a way which helps their tight cap situation, meaning the first year likely carries a low cap hit. Even if that’s the case, Winston is all-but assured to find himself playing elsewhere in 2023 as New Orleans looks for less expensive options behind Carr.
9:19am: After plenty of speculation, the first quarterback domino is set to fall in 2023. Derek Carris signing with the Saints, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). His colleague Ian Rapoport tweets that the deal is four years in length. The Saints have since announced that the contract is officially in place.
Carr’s tenure with the Raiders all-but officially came to an end late in the 2022 season when he was benched. He spent the final two weeks of the campaign away from the team, leading to questions of where he would land next and how Vegas would proceed under center. A trade was a possibility at one point, with the Saints being the only team which worked out compensation with the Raiders on a potential deal. However, the 31-year-old forced Vegas to release him and give himself the chance to test the open market.
That made Carr the top quarterback known to be available prior to the start of free agency. He had a visit with the Jets which resulted in mutual interest existing between the two sides. New York has been very public about their intentions of adding a veteran passer to give the team stability at the position, though they have routinely been linked to a potential Aaron Rodgerstrade.
Carr met with not only the Saints and Jets, but also the Panthers during the Combine, a sign that New Orleans could be facing competition from their division rival. Carolina was thought to be weary of Carr’s $35MM-per-year asking price, however, leading to the expectation that they will use the draft to find their next long-term QB. This news points the Panthers further in that direction.
It came out last week that the Saints were prepared to sign Carr after the outcome of their sit-downs with him. That suggested they were in the lead to land the four-time Pro Bowler, although an update from yesterday seemed to keep the Jets firmly in the running. In any case, it comes as little surprise that Carr has made his decision before the start of the new league year, when other veterans (including Jimmy Garoppolo) will become eligible to sign with teams.
The Saints made a strong push for Deshaun Watsonlast offseason, in spite of an unenviable cap situation. That led them to turn back to Jameis Winstonas their Week 1 starter, though the addition of backup Andy Daltonled to the expectation that a swap in the pecking order could be coming. That was indeed what happened relatively early in the season, though Dalton’s performances led to increased calls for Winston to be re-installed as the No. 1.
Overall, neither passer did enough in 2022 to dissuade New Orleans from making a splash at the position. Dalton is a pending free agent, while Winston has one year remaining on his current contract. Releasing the latter as a post-June 1 cut would yield $12.8MM in cap savings, though the Saints still have plenty of need for additional funds in the immediate future. The team has made multiplemoves recently with respect to restructures, as they looked to carve out not only the needed space to achieve cap compliance, but also the ability to afford Carr. Now, they have done enough to land what they hope will be an upgrade at the position for the foreseeable future.
Attention will now increasingly turn to the Jets’ pursuit of Rodgers, who has at all times been their top preference. With Carr no longer available as a backup plan, New York could face increased urgency to trade for the four-time MVP, whose playing future remains very much in the air. Meanwhile, veterans Carson Wentzand Marcus Mariotaare now the top passers available at the moment, after they were unsurprisingly released last week. With Carr off the board, the 2023 QB landscape has started to take shape.
MARCH 5, 6:05PM: Fowler continued with the updates today, tweeting that, while New Orleans and Carolina remain in the conversation for Carr, the former Raiders quarterback “has a slight lean toward the Jets.” It’s unclear what New York’s main priority is, as they’ve been heavily connected to Rodgers, but Fowler reports that they’ve “made an impression” on Carr.
MARCH 5, 3:36PM: While New Orleans remains one of the top teams to watch on the Carr front, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes that “at least” two others have inquired about the four-time Pro Bowler. The Jets and Panthers are in a different situation than the Saints, of course, but that trio could see increased competition in the coming days if more teams join the fray.
MARCH 4: Plenty of attention around the NFL is currently being paid to the 2023 class of quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. The top veteran passer currently on the market is certainly the subject of significant speculation and reporting as well, though.
Derek Carrhas been connected to a number of teams since he was released by the Raiders. Those include the Jets, who view him as their backup plan to Aaron Rodgers, and the Saints, who are reportedly prepared to work out a deal with Carr at any time now. The Panthers could also be in the market for a veteran signal-caller, though they are positioned to be contenders for one of the top rookie QBs this year as well.
Carolina met Carr in person earlier this week at the combine. That signaled their interest in at least doing their due diligence at the position, though it also came not long after the team was reported to be unwilling to meet the $35MM-per-year contract the 31-year-old is said to be seeking. That did not represent the only contact between the Panthers and Carr.
The two parties spoke over the phone before the combine and will do so again this Monday, as detailed by ESPN’s David Newton. When speaking on the subject of a possible Carr deal, head coach Frank Reich indicated that he would view the four-time Pro Bowler has a long-term investment despite his age (especially compared to the possibility of drafting a signal-caller in the first round of April’s draft). The latter approach is nevertheless believed to be the Panthers’ preference, reports Cameron Wolfe of NFL Network (video link).
That could point Carr towards the Saints as his free agent process continues to take shape. On that point. Luke Johnson of the New Orleans Advocate tweets that Carr could sign with his new team before free agency begins, perhaps as early as this coming week. That sentiment is shared by Wolfe’s colleague Ian Rapoport (video link).
The Saints have plenty of work still to do in terms of becoming cap compliant, let alone carving out enough space to afford Carr on a market-value deal. Like the Panthers, however, they are in need of at least an intermediate-term upgrade under center, so their interest is unlikely to wane in the coming days. That timeline could see a final decision made on Carr’s part, which would represent the first major development in the 2023 quarterback market.
During an appearance on the Official Jets Podcast, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted that the Saints are “ready” to sign Carr. He added that they “want to get something done” with Carr, illustrating how well the two meetings which have taken place between the parties have gone. New Orleans has long been connected to the 31-year-old, who is the top quarterback on the market at this time.
When a trade was thought to be a possibility, the Saints were reportedly in agreement with the Raiders on compensation after Carr’s first visit to New Orleans. The four-time Pro Bowler forced Vegas to release him, though, not as a sign of disinterest in the Saints but rather a means of allowing himself to hit the open market and leverage the best possible contract for the next chapter of his career. That move opened up the number of suitors interested in at least a short-term QB upgrade.
New Orleans faced a difficult cap situation last offseason, but general manager Mickey Loomis carved out enough space to make the team a serious contender for Deshaun Watson. After the latter was ultimately traded to the Browns, though, the Saints elected to use a pairing of Jameis Winstonand Andy Daltonunder center in 2023. Their collective performance left plenty to be desired, and it would come as no surprise if Carr or a similar veteran were brought in to solidify the position.
New Orleans has begun this year’s cap gymnastics, but they still have a long way to go. The Saints are currently more than $30MM over the cap, and not much is certain for them under center. Dalton is a pending free agent, and one year remains on Winston’s contract. Releasing the former first overall pick would yield $4.4MM in savings, a relatively modest amount but one which would nevertheless move the team closer to being able to afford the $35MM AAV Carr is believed to be seeking.
The Saints and Jets met with Carr not only last month, but during this week’s combine as well. Loomis and head coach Dennis Allen spoke positively about their sit-down, and their support of the potential of a deal taking shape. The Panthers, another team which could be a significant player in this year’s quarterback market, is also set to meet with Carr, though. Not surprisingly, Fowler adds that the former second-rounder is likely to remain patient in the name of setting up a bidding war for his services, especially if Aaron Rodgersand/or Lamar Jacksondon’t end up becoming available.
Rodgers has routinely been connected to the Jets this offseason, and mutual interest exists between the AFC East outfit and Carr. They figure to face stiff competition from New Orleans in the Carr sweepstakes, though, as the QB landscape slowly starts to take shape.
February 28th, 2023 at 11:55am CST by Sam Robinson
FEBRUARY 28: Providing more detail on Carr’s schedule, Rapoport tweets that at least three teams will speak with him at the Combine. That list includes the Jets and Saints (for what will be a second sit-down with Carr), but also the Panthers. Carolina is set to be in the market for a QB addition of some kind this offseason, with only Matt Corral and Jacob Eason currently under contract for 2023. It was reported last week, however, that the Panthers would not be willing to commit to Carr at the $35MM-per-season rate he is thought to be seeking. The success of his visit could change things, of course, though Carr will have several other suitors even if Carolina elects for less expensive QB options.
FEBRUARY 27: Derek Carr looks to be planning to check off more visits without logging extensive travel mileage. The free agent quarterback is headed to the Combine to meet with teams this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).
The 31-year-old passer has met with the Saints and Jets already, and while those teams look like the frontrunners thus far, others have checked in on where he stands presently. The Buccaneers, Commanders, Panthers and Titans have been connected to Carr thus far, though none of these teams have been tied as closely to the nine-year veteran compared to the two he has visited.
A deal that averages more than $35MM per year has come up in the Carr sweepstakes, but Rapoport adds lengthy talks about money have not entered the equation just yet. Carr is prioritizing fit for now. While money will undoubtedly be a key component in where he lands, the former MVP candidate will be unlikely to choose a team with poor competitive prospects. Mostly through the $25MM-per-year extension he inked with the Raiders in 2017, Carr has already banked more than $130MM in his career.
The Commanders hold a substantial lead in cap space, in terms of Carr suitors, sitting on more than $35MM after cuttingCarson Wentz and Bobby McCain. A Daron Payne franchise tag will cut into this figure, and Washington is not believed to be seeking to dive deep into the QB salary pool this year. They certainly were last year, and it is interesting in a year in which Ron Rivera will be on the hot seat he could be willing to go withSam Howell and/or a lower-priced veteran. The Bucs and Panthers are believed to be in the same boat, and the Saints, despite their restructure-happy ways, still have a long ways to go on this front.
If this lot of teams is unwilling to pay franchise-level money for Carr, it would stand to reason the Jets might be able to land the longtime Raider at a lower-than-expected cost. A clearer picture of where Carr’s market stands will emerge in Indianapolis.
The Raiders released Derek Carr nearly two weeks ago, and while the veteran quarterback has visited the Saints and Jets thus far, he remains a free agent. Carr is clearly not in a rush to land with a second NFL employer, and a price point has emerged.
Carr’s third Raiders contract paid him just more than $40MM per year, but its construction led to it being a one-year agreement. For his fourth NFL deal, Carr is not demanding it match the AAV the Raiders authorized last year. But Carr is aiming for a contract north of $35MM annually, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com notes (Twitter link).
Last year’s Raiders-Carr agreement also gave him a head-start on free agency, via the guarantee vesting date coming exactly a month before the market opens. But Carr is willing to wait for a team to meet his asking price; he does not need to be the first QB to sign this offseason, per Russini. It would seemingly behoove Carr to sign early, before free agency begins to dramatically alter teams’ budgets. But Daniel Jonessigning soon could also strengthen Carr’s stance.
The Giants are not expected to be in play for non-Jones QBs, but the free agent-to-be is asking for a contract at or near the $45MM-per-year mark. Given the gap in accomplishments between Jones and Carr, the Giants giving their 25-year-old QB a deal in the $40MM-AAV range would seem to bolster the latter’s value. Carr is 31, which impacts his stock compared to Jones’, but be should have at least a few more prime years to factor into his negotiations.
No quarterbacks currently sit between the $35MM and $40MM AAV thresholds. Carr and Jones may end up bridging that gap, though it will be interesting to see if the latter stands down and accepts an offer closer to the Giants’ price point than his own. Carr also has the luxury of negotiating with multiple teams; Jones will not, as the Giants plan to use the franchise tag on him absent an extension agreement by March 7. Carr has engaged in talks with teams beyond the Jets and Saints, though those are the big two at the moment. And not much has come out connecting Carr to the Saints since he became a street free agent.
The Jets’ wish list does not appear to have changed. Although mutual interest exists between the Jets and Carr, the team is still waiting onAaron Rodgers. The four-time MVP, post-darkness retreat, has not alerted the Packers if he wants to retire, return or be traded. An explosive report of the Packers being done with Rodgers certainly caught interested teams’ attention, and an AFC suitor moving on Carr early may not make much sense — unless it was certain Rodgers was off the table or sought a younger arm. The Jets have made no secret they are chasing a veteran, but it does not seem to matter if they acquire a 39-year-old passer or Carr, who will turn 32 this offseason.
This growing collection of cautious spenders would not bode well for Carr, who still may be waiting out Rodgers’ decision as far as the Jets are concerned. The rest of the quarterback market will be free to speak with other teams beginning March 13, but the Carr domino should still be expected to fall before that date.
February 21st, 2023 at 12:50pm CST by Adam La Rose
With the window for franchise tags opening today, the offseason has hit an important milestone in the build-up to free agency. One prominent name is already on the market, of course, and has a central role to play in this offseason’s quarterback market.
Derek Carrmet with the Jets over the weekend, marking his second official visit to a potential new team and first as a free agent. Prior to his release from the Raiders, he visited the Saints, the only team which came to an agreement with Vegas on the matter of trade compensation. His New York sit-down produced positive results, and lends itself to further connections between the two.
Carr’s visit with the Jets was “very positive,” ESPN’s Jeff Darlington noted during a Get Up appearance (Twitter link via Heavy.com’s Paul Esden). Adding further to that sentiment, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets that the summit led to “rave reviews” on both sides, and that interest exists between both team and player with respect to a deal materializing at some point. There remains plenty to be determined before Carr lands in his new NFL home, though.
Confirming what many had expected upon his release, Carr’s brother David said on NFL Total Access that the four-time Pro Bowler will be patient and thorough in his free agent visits. “It’s gonna be a long process,” the elder Carr said, via NFL.com’s Grant Gordon. “He wants to do his due diligence and see as many places as he can to get a feel for what the best place for him will be.”
Carr has the advantage of being able to sign at any time, as opposed to other pending free agents only being eligible to do after the new league year begins in March. He will likely have plenty of suitors, considering the interest reportedly shown by not only the Saints and Jets, but also the Commanders, Titans and Panthers once it became clear that Carr’s tenure with the Raiders was coming to an end. As arguably the top quarterback soon to be on the move — depending on what the future holds for top Jets targetAaron Rodgers –– Carr would be well-suited to weigh all his options before signing anywhere.
The Jets are still waiting on Rodgers, post-darkness, to inform the Packers of his plans, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets, adding the AFC East team would be prepared to speak with Green Bay about its future Hall of Fame quarterback. A weekend report indicated the Packers have soured on Rodgers, opening the door to this third round of offseason trade rumors being the most legitimate.
The manner in which his time in the Silver and Black came to an end (which included him leaving the team upon being benched for the final two weeks of the season) has led some to wonder if Carr could be a poor fit from a personality standpoint. As Connor Hughes of SNY notes, though, the 31-year-old “completely erased” any doubts on that front (video link). With more likely to be known with respect to Rodgers’ intentions soon, it may take a number of weeks before Carr arrives at a decision. Nevertheless, signs continue to point to the Big Apple as a logical landing spot for him.
February 17th, 2023 at 10:13pm CST by Sam Robinson
Derek Carr already met with the Saints, after the Raiders granted permission, but the Jets will be his first free agent visit. Carr is set to meet with the Jets this weekend, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.
The Jets have been linked to Carr for weeks now, and their potential either/or quandary will not deter them from a meeting. The Jets have been linked to Aaron Rodgers and Carr, and the team has done early work onJimmy Garoppolo. Carr, however, is available now. With interest from several teams expected, the Jets will face a decision. The meeting will begin Friday night, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets.
Following Zach Wilson‘s disastrous 2022 season, the Jets have made no secret of a desire to seek a veteran upgrade. Woody Johnson said he would be willing to shell out a veteran contract, while Robert Saleh confirmed the team’s interest in acquiring an experienced arm. The team pursued Kirk Cousins in 2018, but after the Vikings won out, the team drafted Sam Darnold. The Jets have primarily given their QB keys to first- or second-round picks over the past decade and change, going from Mark Sanchez to Geno Smith to — after multiple Ryan Fitzpatrick bridge seasons — Darnold and then Wilson. But the team with the league’s longest active playoff drought has pivoted, aiming to land a passer to complement a vastly improved defense.
With the Raiders only agreeing to let Carr meet with the Saints, it can be assumed no other team was willing to trade anything of note for the nine-year starter. Though, the Jets did reach out to the Raiders on Carr prior to his release, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. The Jets reside in the middle of the pack in terms of cap space, sitting less than a million over the cap as of Friday afternoon. If the Saints are their primary competition, that is an important number to note. The Saints’ annual February cap crisis has produced a $55MM-over figure.
QBR still slotted Carr 14th — a slight drop from his recent years’ work — last season, but his completion percentage and yards per attempt dropped noticeably under Josh McDaniels in 2022. Carr completed 60.8% of his throws (down from 68.4 in 2021) on 7.0 per pass (down from 7.7 in 2021 and 7.9 figures in 2019 and ’20), though he spent chunks of the season without Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. Davante Adams‘ arrival produced more big production from the ex-Packer, but the Raiders’ performance led Carr out of town. Given Wilson’s play and Mike White‘s inability to stay healthy, Carr would provide a considerable upgrade. White is also a free agent-to-be.
The Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator, adding fuel to the Rodgers speculation. They also hired ex-Raiders OC Todd Downing, who was also Carr’s former QBs coach in Oakland, as their pass-game coordinator. The two remain close. The Jets have reached out to the Packers about Rodgers’ availability; that timing probably connects to Carr’s free agency. The Jets knowing if Rodgers is available will undoubtedly impact their decision with Carr, though the free agent quarterback will obviously make the final decision. Garoppolo would represent a Rodgers fallback option, but Carr has offered a higher ceiling and more reliability compared to the injury-prone 49er.
Garoppolo, also 31, will be available with the rest of the UFAs on March 13, when the legal tampering period begins. Rodgers may not be available for months, considering how much easier it will be for the Packers, cap-wise, if they trade him after June 1.
The Jets acquired Brett Favre well into the summer in 2008, ahead of his age-39 season. As was the case with Favre, the Packers would prefer to move Rodgers to the AFC. Carr is eight years younger than Rodgers, who turned 39 in December. Whomever Gang Green convinces to play quarterback in 2023 will have reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore and Corey Davis to target. Promising running back Breece Hall is also expected to return from his ACL tear, giving the Jets an intriguing setup — assuming they can make their desired upgrade at quarterback.
FEBRUARY 14: The Raiders officially released Carr, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Carr will hit the market a month before free agency, allowing him to determine his 2023 plans weeks ahead of his free agent QB peers. The Raiders save $29.3MM in cap space by making this move.
FEBRUARY 13: With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror, Derek Carr‘s guarantee vesting date is fast approaching. The Raiders do not plan to wait until the deadline. They will release their longtime starting quarterback Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link).
The Raiders would have until 3pm CT Wednesday to find a Carr trade partner, but the veteran passer has already indicated he will not waive his no-trade clause. That leaves the Raiders with little choice here, given their actions to this point. They will cut Carr to avoid paying the $40.4MM guarantee.
Tuesday’s transaction will not only end this unusual divorce and spur a fascinating pursuit — one that will put teams to decisions on going after Carr now or waiting for other options later — but it will also wrap the Raiders’ longest-running partnership with a starting quarterback. Although Ken Stabler was a Raider longer than Carr, the Hall of Famer did not begin his run as a full-time starter until his sixth season (1973). The Raiders needed Carr from the jump, plugging him into the lineup in Week 1 of his rookie season. Carr ended up starting 142 games as a Raider, but the team stopped that streak abruptly with a benching ahead of its Week 17 game last season.
The Raiders, who will only be hit with $5.6MM in dead money by this release, gauged Carr’s fit in Josh McDaniels‘ offense via their three-year extension agreement. But that deal’s escape hatch — the Feb. 15 guarantee vesting date — will trigger Las Vegas’ quarterback search. Carr constantly landed in trade rumors under previous regimes, but the Raiders held onto him through the Jack Del Rio and Jon Gruden‘s stays. The Raiders did not have much luck at quarterback in the years immediately before taking Carr in the 2014 second round, with the Carson Palmer and JaMarcus Russell moves in particular costing the team dearly. But McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler will replace Carr this year.
Carr, 32 in March, could have been a potential chip at last year’s trade deadline, but The Athletic’s Vic Tafur notes (subscription required) the Raiders were not ready to pull the plug at that point. Even after a 24-0 loss to the Saints, the Raiders hoped Carr and McDaniels would mesh down the stretch. The 2-5 team stayed the course, but late in a season that saw Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow sidelined for extended stretches, the Silver and Black showed their cards with the benching. Davante Adams has said he remains committed to the Raiders, despite Carr driving him to seek out Vegas as a destination last year.
The Raiders wanted a third-round pick. It is unclear if the Saints offered that, but they will have a chance to woo Carr on the market. New Orleans would need to backload a Carr contract, being nearly $60MM over the cap. While February cap gymnastics are old hat for GM Mickey Loomis, the Saints appear set to enter a competitive chase for a free agent quarterback for the first time since they signed Drew Brees in 2006. New Orleans, which waded deep into the Deshaun Watson trade sweepstakes last year, is unlikely to retain Jameis Winston and has not been aggressive in attempting to re-sign Andy Dalton. Carr appears the target, though he will be for other teams as well.
The Jets’ recent inquiry about Rodgers’ availability makes sense, with Carr about to hit the market. New York’s might be the most intriguing decision: go after Carr now or risk striking out on Rodgers. Jimmy Garoppolo also looms as a later potential Rodgers consolation prize — for both the Jets and Raiders — and the Titans’ involvement here points to Ryan Tannehill being available as well.
The Titans have used Tannehill as their primary starter for the past four seasons, and while the team promoted OC Tim Kelly, a Carr chase makes Tannehill’s Tennessee status tenuous. The Titans can save $27MM by designating Tannehill as a post-June 1 cut. A past restructure would make a standard Tannehill release more costly for the AFC South franchise. Even though the Titans kept Tannehill in the loop regarding Kelly’s hire, per Titans.com’s Jim Wyatt, one season remains on his contract.
Carolina has sought a long-term QB answer since cutting Cam Newton in 2020. But the Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield efforts fell short of expectations. Frank Reich went through a few veterans in Indianapolis as well, which would make the Panthers diving back into the veteran market interesting. The Panthers hold the No. 9 overall pick, putting them in play for a quarterback pick or a trade-up maneuver. A Carr acquisition would presumably prevent either. Carolina looks to be a second-tier suitor here, per David Newton of ESPN.com, who notes the Panthers could be interested if the price drops below its expected point (Twitter link).
6:05pm: In a move which comes as no surprise at all given previous reporting on the matter, Fowler tweets that the Jets have indeed “inquired” about Rodgers’ availability. The answer to that question will, of course, be dictated by his decision regarding his intention of playing in 2023, but if a trade becomes possible, the Jets will be the team to watch.
8:10am: For Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, all options remain on the table: he may return to the Packers in 2023, he may ask to be traded, or he may retire. The 39-year-old said during his appearance on The Pat McAfee Show this past week that he will contemplate his future during a four-day, four-night “darkness retreat,” which will commence after today’s Super Bowl (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
Rodgers said he will retreat to a small house in an undisclosed location, and his only contact with the outside world will come when his meals are delivered. While recent reports have suggested that Rodgers will play in 2023 rather than walk away from an eye-popping amount of money, Rodgers told McAfee that retirement is a very real possibility.
“For sure; it’s a real thing, 100 percent,” Rodgers said. “That’s why it’s going to be important to get through this week and to take my isolation retreat and just to be able to contemplate all things my future and then be able to make a decision that I think is best for me moving forward and in the highest interest of my happiness and then move forward.”
The implication here is that Rodgers will alert the Packers of his decision shortly after his retreat, though team president Mark Murphy confirms that there is no deadline at this point (video link via ESPN’s Dianna Russini). Murphy acknowledged that the club would like an answer sooner rather than later, and he expects to have clarity on the matter no later than the opening of free agency on March 15.
Several Packers sources tell Connor Hughes of SNY.tv (video link) that they expect Rodgers to return to Green Bay. However, Hughes and the NFL.com duo of Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero report that, no matter what the four-time MVP wants to do, the Packers will accommodate his wishes.
That means, of course, that if Rodgers decides he wants to play for another team — which may actually be Green Bay’s preference — the Packers will work with him to make that happen (though Rodgers would need to first agree to a reworked contract in order to allow a trade to be consummated). While Green Bay reportedly will not deal its franchise icon to an NFC club, there will nonetheless be multiple suitors.
The Jets and Raiders have already been linked to Rodgers in various reports, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says he is “more convinced than ever” that New York will aggressively pursue Rodgers (subscription required). The Jets believe that they are close to contention, and they have locked in on Rodgers as Plan A. Only if a Rodgers pursuit is unsuccessful will the team pivot to Derek Carr, whom Fowler says is Gang Green’s No. 2 choice.