The New York Jets received great news Tuesday afternoon with the official release of Derek Carr from the Las Vegas Raiders.
Vegas’ leading passer in most statistical categories is now free to negotiate with other teams while saving the Raiders over $29 million in cap space.
Carr originally received interest from the New Orleans Saints late last week. The Raiders had until Feb. 15 to either trade Carr and his $40 million option or cut him and not receive any additional assets, though they would save more money.
Josh McDaniels and the Raiders ended up choosing the latter.
The latest news is a great update for the Jets. While Aaron Rodgers is still considered the top target for New York, Carr is the next best option in a long list of veteran quarterbacks that are expected to be available in the offseason. His release also allows teams to begin negotiating with him immediately as he is no longer under contract with an NFL team and does not need to adhere to free agency guidelines.
New York has repeatedly confirmed they will be in the market for a top veteran quarterback this offseason after using three different passers in a disappointing 7-10 season in 2022.
Carr could certainly be an immediate upgrade over Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, and Mike White. He has completed 64% of his passes through nine seasons and has thrown for over 35,000 yards. The former Fresno State product has also been to the Pro Bowl three times.
Trying to sign Carr won’t come easy for the Jets. New Orleans, the Carolina Panthers, and other teams will be fighting for the former second-round pick’s services. How the quarterback fits with a team will be extremely important — as will the money.
The Athletic reported that the Raiders had been leaking that Carr struggled in the pocket in 2022 and didn’t play well in cold-weather games: a fact that could hurt the Jets in their pursuit of the veteran against other warmer-weather franchises. New Orleans, who plays in a dome, would also seem to have an edge.
Regardless, Carr now has the opportunity to choose where he plays next. The Jets will have an edge against other teams because of their top-five defense and young offensive stars like Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. They will also have to decide if they truly believe they can get Rodgers from Green Bay as well.
The first quarterback domino has fallen to begin the 2023 offseason. What steps the Jets take next will ultimately decide how far they go in the 2023-24 regular season.