The New Orleans Saints likely compiled a list of quarterback options if the franchise couldn't secure the services of unrestricted free agent Derek Carr.
The team no longer will be needing that list.
On Monday, the Saints officially got the quarterback upgrade that the franchise hopes will drive it back to the playoffs when the team announced it had agreed to terms on a deal with Carr, New Orleans' target from the moment that Carr's availability became imminent.
"It's the most important position on the field," Coach Dennis Allen said during a media session at the NFL Scouting Combine last week, a mantra he has repeated time and again about the status a quarterback maintains for each NFL team.
New Orleans' most important man now is Carr, a nine-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler who's the Raiders' all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns, attempts and completions.
Carr is expected to bring stability and production to the position for New Orleans, which has had five starters in 34 games at quarterback – Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian, Taysom Hill, Ian Book and Andy Dalton – since Drew Brees retired following the 2020 season.
Dalton, expected to be a backup to Winston last season before Winston got injured, totaled the most impressive passing statistics of the quintet when he completed 252 of 378 passes for 2,871 yards and 18 touchdowns, with nine interceptions, in 14 games last season.
Carr, a second-round pick (No. 36 overall) by the Oakland Raiders and then-Raiders coach Dennis Allen in 2014, started every game he played (142 in the regular season) in nine years with the franchise. The Raiders were 63-79 in those games, but Carr completed 3,201 of 4,958 passes (a franchise-record 64.6 percent) for 35,222 yards and 217 touchdowns, with 99 interceptions. Last year, in 15 games he completed 305 of 502 passes for 3,522 yards and 24 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions.
He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl following the 2015-17 and 2022 seasons, never has thrown more than 14 interceptions in a season and during a four-year stretch from 2018-21, did not complete less than 67.3 percent of his passes in any season. Carr passed for more than 4,000 in each of the four years and had 90 touchdowns, with 41 interceptions.
The Raiders had two winning seasons with Carr (12-4 in 2016 and 10-7 in 2021), and made the playoffs in each of those years. They lost in the Wild Card game each time.
Allen was relieved of his coaching duties in Oakland following the first four games of 2014, after Carr had become the first rookie in franchise history to start the opening game at quarterback. But Allen maintained a line of communication with Carr, a relationship that helped secure the quarterback's services for the Saints, who have sought a reliable option at the position since Brees retired.
With Carr now in the fold, and the team's most glaring need having been addressed, the Saints will go about the business of addressing other needs via free agency before adding to the roster in the NFL Draft.
New Orleans Saints announced that they have agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Derek Carr on Monday, March 6, 2023. Check out Derek in action with the Las Vegas Raiders during his NFL career.