The last few off-seasons have shaken up the landscape of the NFL as many top quarterbacks have changed teams. Players like Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford left their teams after over a decade(s) of being with the teams that drafted them. More importantly, those situations paid off right away as those quarterbacks led their teams to a Super Bowl in their very first season. This success has launched a quarterback trade frenzy that we haven’t ever seen before. However, it’s not an automatic hit as some quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, and Russell Wilson failed to make the playoffs in the first season with their new teams. Either way, finding a potential franchise quarterback on the free agent market or via a trade partner is not only rare but nearly impossible. This means if Derek Carr is potentially available this offseason, there won’t be a lack of suitors for his services. In this article, we will discuss some of the best fits for Carr based on which systems/coaches he has played for in the past, and which of those teams could have a need at quarterback.


1. Washington Commanders

  • Current Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio was Derek Carr’s head coach for the Raiders from 2015-2017. All three of Carr’s pro-bowl seasons came with Del Rio as the Head Coach. Carr’s best season when it came to his win-loss record (12-3) was back in 2016. This marked just one of two seasons in Carr’s career where he made the playoffs.
  • Heading into 2023 the Commanders could have a wide-open quarterback room. Taylor Heinicke will be a free agent, and Carson Wentz has a potential out in 2023 that would result in a $0 dead cap hit. This would pretty much clear any money on the books at the quarterback position providing a need, and the cap flexibility to acquire or sign Carr this offseason.

2. New Orleans Saints

  • Current Saints’ Head Coach Dennis Allen was the Head Coach in Oakland when the Raiders drafted Derek Carr back in 2014. Allen gave over the keys to the franchise to his second-round rookie right away as Carr started all 16 games for the Raiders that season. Now with the Saints, Allen’s first season as the New Orleans Head Coach hasn’t gotten off to the best start. A lot of this has to do with the Saints’ struggles to find a quarterback post Drew Brees. Over the past two seasons, the Saints have started Taysom Hill, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian, and Ian Book during that timeframe.
  • Like the Washington situation, the Saints could let Dalton walk, and release Winston for an $11 million dead cap hit. If 2022 was any indication it was clear that this coaching staff doesn’t prefer Winston’s style of play. so unless Sean Payton returns, then with Dalton as a free agent, they could be in the market for a quarterback. The biggest issue for the Saints is they are 57 million over the cap heading into 2023 which could complicate them from upgrading the quarterback position.

3. Atlanta Falcons

  • After back-to-back 7-10 seasons in his first two years as a head coach, it is clear that Arthur Smith is in need of a quarterback. Smith’s offense is deeply routed in west coast principals after taking over for Offensive Coordinator Matt Lafleur for the Titans back in 2019. Once he was hired in Atlanta, he brought over Bears Passing Game Coordinator Dave Ragone. Ragone coached with Arthur Smith in Tennessee before stints with Jay Gruden in Washington and Matt Nagy in Chicago. This link to the west coast style offense would be ideal for Derek Carr who played in this style of offense for most of his career.
  • Heading into 2023, the Falcons will have the second most cap space in the league which makes them more than capable of taking on Carr’s current salary and/or signing him as a free agent if he is released by the Raiders this off-season. The Falcons don’t have much invested in the position either as Marcus Marita could be cut with a dead cap hit of $2.5 million, and Desmond Ridder only collects 1.2 million on his rookie deal.

4. New York Jets

  • The firing of Offensive Coordinator Mike Lafleur does leave some uncertainty about the direction this offense will go in for 2023. However, early indications based on some of the interviews being requested do show this offense will be trying to run a west coast scheme next season. Dolphins quarterback coach Darrell Bevell (who turned down the position) and former Broncos Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett (Editor update: Nathaniel Hackett has been hired by the Jets) both have west coast backgrounds. This seems to be inevitable as Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh coached under west coast masterminds like Gary Kubiak and Kyle Shanahan for years.
  • The Jets clearly have a need at the quarterback position as Zach Wilson has not played well in his first two seasons as a starter. Meanwhile, both Joe Flacco and Mike White are free agents heading into 2023. The Jets would have to clear money to make room for a player like Derek Carr as they currently just have 7 million in cap space. However, with a solid supporting cast that features stud rookie Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall along with Elijah Moore and Corey Davis, the Jets could be a quarterback away from making serious noise in the AFC as soon as next season.

5. Seattle Seahawks

  • An under-the-radar team to monitor in the Derek Carr sweepstakes is the Seattle Seahawks. Early indications are they will bring back Geno Smith, but if they can’t come to terms with Smith, Carr does make sense for them in 2023. Current Offensive Coordinator Shane Waldron coached under Jay Gruden then Sean McVay for years. This connection to the west coast system would bode well for Carr as he has ties to that style of offense playing with Jay Gruden’s brother Jon Gruden for four seasons.
  • Seattle certainly has the salary cap to get a deal done as they currently sit at $37 million under the cap heading into the offseason. Based on how Smith performed in 2021 this landing spot does seem to be less likely. However, if they do decide to go in another direction the Seahawks are a team ready to win now and have plenty of weapons like D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Kenneth Walker to justify making a splash at quarterback in 2023.

Honorable Mentions: Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Miami Dolphins