Saints could have traded for Justin Fields, if they had wanted to

It says a lot about the New Orleans Saints’ plans at quarterback that they never entered trade talks while the Chicago Bears were trying to find a new home for Justin Fields. The 25-year-old was dealt to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2025 draft; if he’s able to get on the field ahead of Russell Wilson and play well, it can turn into a fourth rounder.

The Saints could have beaten that offer. They own multiple picks in rounds five and six this year which is more lucrative than selections in 2025. They could’ve made a stronger offer than Pittsburgh did, had they chosen to.

And they had an inside scoop on Fields after hiring his quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko. Janocko worked closely with Fields the last two years in Chicago and knew everything there was to know about the young quarterback. If the Saints liked what he had to say, they would’ve made a move. But they didn’t.

Which gets to our point: the Saints weren’t interested. As we’ve been saying, they want to support Derek Carr, not threaten his position on top of the depth chart with someone who might be better. They don’t want to have more ugly moments were fans were booing him off the field and cheering on Jameis Winston as happened last year. That’s why they signed a mediocre backup in Nathan Peterman, whose best-case scenario is getting blitzed by Jake Haener in training camp before hanging on with the practice squad, maybe.

Carr was a tough watch for much of the 2023 season. Still, Saints decision-makers like head coach Dennis Allen and general manager Mickey Loomis are confident he can deliver on the expectations that come with his $150 million contract. To his credit, Carr was much more impressive through the last six weeks when ex-offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael began tailoring the offense to his strengths with more play-action passes and pre-snap movement. Allen hired an entirely new offensive coaching staff this offseason, including Janocko, with the goal of putting Carr in a position to succeed.

Does that mean they were right to pass on Fields? No. Teams should keep adding quarterbacks until they know they have the right one, whether that means rolling the dice in free agency, taking a flyer on another team’s castoff, or drafting one themselves. Carr, who turns 33 in a few weeks, has probably hit his ceiling without ever winning a single playoff game. Allen, Loomis, and the Saints as an organization are determined to find out if he can lead the team to success in spite of that. They’re going with Carr, sink or swim, and that’s why they’re not in on an exciting young quarterback like Fields. It’s why fans shouldn’t expect them to draft another passer coming out of college, either.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire