Despite Saints visit, signs still point toward Derek Carr being cut

The Raiders finally relented on Tuesday, allowing quarterback Derek Carr to visit with the New Orleans Saints. The natural reaction to the news became wondering whether Carr might actually be traded.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, that still remains unlikely.

If Carr is on the roster as of 4:00 p.m. ET next Tuesday, February 14, he’ll definitely be on the roster as of Wednesday, February 15 — and he’ll therefore absolutely have $40.4 million in guaranteed salary vest. There simply isn’t enough time for everything to come together, especially with Carr knowing he’ll have a full month before the free-agency market opens to explore options if/when he’s cut.

He needs to make more than one visit in order to pick his next team. He needs to have a chance to see what else is out there. To find out how much other teams will pay. To ideally leverage interested teams against each other in order to maximize his return.

It’s unclear whether the Saints view this as the de facto first stop on Carr’s free-agency tour, or whether they believe they can persuade him to accept a trade to New Orleans without fully exploring other options. Again, any team that would be willing to give the Raiders draft-pick compensation and to commit to $40.4 million in cash obligations to Carr would presumably be willing to pay Carr even more if they can get him without sacrificing a draft pick or two.

That number goes even higher if multiple teams decide they want him badly enough to compete with other franchises to get a potential franchise quarterback.

Look at what Deshaun Watson was able to muster last year, despite off-field issues that resulted in an 11-game suspension. He had four teams at the table, and eventually the Browns reacted to being kicked to the curb by making him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Carr could be able to do something similar to that, if he has the time to explore his options and work his plan.

But the clock is running short for the Raiders and Carr. Carr currently isn’t inclined to agree to something as the clock prepares to strike midnight. He wants to see what else is out there.

And that could have happened, if the Raiders previously had let him visit all interested teams, pick one, and then see whether that team was willing to trade for him. Again, however, it was always going to be better for Carr to be a free agent than to be traded.

Bottom line? From the get-go, the smart play for Carr was to tell the Raiders “cut me or pay me.” Nothing about Carr visiting one team before next Tuesday changes that. Although he hasn’t come out and said it, he knows that’s the right move. Frankly, it’s the only move.

Despite Saints visit, signs still point toward Derek Carr being cut originally appeared on Pro Football Talk