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Panthers favorites to land QB Derek Carr

The quarterback carousel started up Tuesday, with Derek Carr officially on the market after his release from the Las Vegas Raiders.

Though he was linked to another NFC South team in recent weeks, it’s the Carolina Panthers who have moved to No. 1 on the board as Carr’s next team, reported Tuesday.

The Panthers are +140 favorites to be Carr’s landing spot, with the New Orleans Saints right behind at +150. They’re followed by the New York Jets at +350 and a third NFC South club, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at +900.

Carolina is starting over after a 7-10 season that included a 2-7 start. The Panthers tried Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and P.J. Walker at quarterback in 2022 and none of them played well enough to lock up the starting job for the future.

Now, the Panthers have hired Frank Reich as head coach, and in a weak division that just saw Tom Brady leave the Bucs behind and retire, a veteran quarterback paired with Reich could expedite the Panthers’ return to contention.

The Saints struggled in 2022 after Jameis Winston suffered a back injury and was demoted behind Andy Dalton once he returned. Carr figures to be a better option than bringing either of those quarterbacks back, and New Orleans reportedly met with Carr over two days last week.

There was rumored to be a trade in place, but the Saints would have asked Carr to take a pay cut from his Raiders contract. Carr, in turn, declined to waive his no-trade clause, forcing the Raiders to release him Tuesday before more than $40 million of his salary would become guaranteed.

That sequence of events figures to have hurt the Saints’ odds a bit, but Carr could return to New Orleans to negotiate a deal himself now that he is a free agent.

Jets owner Woody Johnson has confirmed the team will seek a veteran quarterback this offseason with Zach Wilson’s development not going how they’d hoped, and they figure to be involved not only with Carr but with trade candidate Aaron Rodgers and soon-to-be free agent Jimmy Garoppolo as well.

The Buccaneers are a distant fourth because, while the need for a Brady replacement is there, the money might not be. Tampa Bay projects to be nearly $60 million over the salary cap after taking a $35 million dead-cap hit once Brady’s retirement paperwork was filed.

Some longshots for Carr’s services include Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers (+1800), the Indianapolis Colts (+2200), and the Houston Texans (+5000).

–Field Level Media


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