Sources: Raiders grant Derek Carr permission to visit Saints

ByKatherine Terrell ESPN logo
Wednesday, February 8, 2023

NEW ORLEANS -- Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been granted permission to visit the New Orleans Saints, sources told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

The visit will take place on Wednesday at the Saints facility in Metairie, Louisiana, according to sources.

It wouldbe Carr's first known visit ahead of the Raiders' Feb. 15 trigger date on his contract, by which $40.4 million of his salary becomes guaranteed ($32.9 million in 2023 and $7.5 million for 2024). The situation requires either the Raiders or the new team to absorb those guarantees, meaning the Raiders would likely choose to release him if no trade partner emerges by that point.

If the Raiders cut Carr, they will take on a $5.6 million salary-cap hit but free up $29.3 million in cap room. If they trade him, the same would transpire, but they would get draft picks back in return.

The Saints have the 29th pick in the 2023 draft as part of compensation for the trade of former coach Sean Payton to the Denver Broncos. They also have the 40th pick and the 71st pick on Day 2.

The Saints are estimated to be at least $55 million over the expected 2023 salary cap of $224.8 million, and they would have to restructure a number of contracts to not only be cap compliant but to fit in Carr's $34.8 million salary-cap figure for 2023. His contract also would likely be restructured to lower his 2023 cap figure.

Carr's upcoming meeting was first reported by the NFL Network and NewOrleans.Football.

The Saints already have familiarity with the quarterback. Saints coach Dennis Allen, who coached the Raiders from 2012 to 2014, selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft. Allen, who was fired four games into the Raiders' 2014 season, also elected to start Carr right away as a rookie.

Carr has a no-trade clause in his contract and can veto any destination.

Carr spent nine seasons with the Raiders, with a 63-79 record, and helped take them to the playoffs in 2016 and 2021, but he missed the team's 2016 postseason contest with an injury.

Carr was benched in the final two games of the 2022 season in what was described as a mutual decision. He stepped away from the team to avoid being a distraction, with the possibility of his departure in the offseason looming.

The Saints spent the 2021 and 2022 offseasons looking for a quarterback after Drew Brees retired following the 2020 season. The Saints attempted to go after Deshaun Watson last spring, with team owner Gayle Benson flying out to Atlanta to meet with the quarterback, who was still a member of the Houston Texans at the time. Watson was eventually traded to the Cleveland Browns, and he received a fully guaranteed contract after agreeing to waive his no-trade clause.

The Saints, who started four different quarterbacks in 2020, re-signed Jameis Winston after failing to get Watson and also inkedAndy Dalton as a backup. Dalton became the starter after Winston was injured early in the season, and Allen elected to stick with Dalton for the rest of the year.

Dalton is a pending free agent, and Winston has one more year on the two-year deal he signed last spring.

"Our process really doesn't change," Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland said at the Senior Bowl last week. "When we had Drew, you kind of knew you're pretty much taken care of in that regard. We have one free agent quarterback, a practice squad quarterback under contract, so we do take it a little more serious this year because we need to find one."

ESPN's Paul Gutierrez contributed to this report.

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