Raiders fans tried to warn the Saints about QB Derek Carr — now New Orleans is stuck

Derek Carr is a polarizing signal-caller around the league. While his raw counting numbers are hard to ignore, a deeper look at the tape reveals how inefficient Carr really is. Raiders fans tried to warn the Saints.
Dec 21, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) is brought
Dec 21, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) is brought / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders, to the surprise of some, cut Derek Carr following the 2022 campaign. Only a year removed from leading a ragtag Silver and Black squad to the postseason, Carr got served an eviction notice. The New Orleans Saints, his preferred destination, quickly swooped in and signed the former second-rounder to a gaudy contract.

Derek Carr Eats Up More Salary Cap Space Than He’s Worth

At the low price of $150 million, New Orleans felt like it found the final piece of the puzzle — a piece the front office has actively searched for since Drew Brees rode off into the sunset. Barely over the age of 30, and sporting impressive numbers on paper, the vision at least had some merit.

However, it has taken less than a full season for Saints fans to realize what most Raiders fans knew all along — Derek Carr is good but not nearly good enough. Even for a team that believes it is merely a “quarterback away”, Carr is not that quarterback.

Now, to be fair to Carr, in 2023, virtually everything has gone wrong for the Saints. Injuries have piled up at the worst of times. Unproductive play at key positions, including wide receiver, leaves the veteran signal-caller to create points in the bleakest of situations.

But plenty of that blame ultimately falls at the feet of the man making $150 million. Carr has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL in the red zone since entering the league — and that hasn’t changed with the Saints. Between the twenties, New Orleans moves the ball with ease. But once the offense hits the red zone, it’s like a brick wall to its scoring chances.

The Saints Boast A Below-Average Red Zone Success Rate — Field Goal After Field Goal

Carr is completing less than 50 percent of his passes from inside 20 yards and frequently misses open receivers in the end zone. These oversights have led to issues with Chris Olave and Michael Thomas, among others.

Going further, Carr takes unnecessary sacks, with a handful of occurrences putting the Saints out of comfortable field goal position. Simply put, Carr is capable of driving down the field, but putting a stamp on the drive with six points? It doesn’t happen enough.

To his credit, the 10-year veteran is completing passes at a near career-high clip. At 67 percent, Carr is amongst the league leaders. But that highlights just how dismal he is in the red zone — going from one of the most accurate to one of the least.

Also, Carr is performing well on the deep ball, for the most part. PFF tracks 16 big-time throws on the year (20+ yard completions), and while that number reads as respectable, a bevy of them have come from young wideout Rashid Shaheed either burning the defense for an easy throw and taking a short pass all the way to the house.

That is why watching the tape matters, but even more so with Derek Carr. His numbers, on paper, have always read as average at worst. There were even four seasons with the Raiders where Carr earned Pro Bowl honors — but that is his ceiling. And there’s quite the distinction between a Pro Bowl quarterback and an All-Pro.

Raiders Fans Tried To Warn The Saints About Carr

Paying $150 million for a guy who cannot reach the elite tier at the position is a costly mistake for New Orleans. The front office kicked the can down the road by signing Carr, and even if the franchise can find its way into the postseason, it will be held back by the current signal-caller.

This isn’t a hate piece on Carr — there are already droves of those. But it is a piece explaining one thing: The Saints overpaid for a quarterback that cannot move the needle enough to justify his contract. And the worst part? The deal is virtually impossible to be voided (or traded) until at least 2025.

The story of “good, but not good enough” will be what Carr is remembered for as an NFL quarterback. Raiders fans, at least some of them, knew this and tried to warn the Saints. But New Orleans has made its bed and now must lay there with its nine-figure signal-caller.

More Stories From NFLMocks:

-3 Potential Landing Spots For QB Drake Maye

-Buffalo Bills Are Heating Up At The Right Time

-Fire HC Mike Tomlin? The Steelers Would Be Foolish

Some offseason moves (like Carr) were a big mistake, but you can put that behind you with $150 in instant bonus bets waiting for you at DraftKings! All you have to do is sign up, deposit $10 or more and then bet $5 or more on ANY NFL Week 16 game. You'll instantly win $150 in bonus bets! Sign up for DraftKings today.