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The Las Vegas Raiders released Derek Carr on Tuesday, making him a free agent. Unlike others on this list, Carr is able to sign with a team immediately, Others on this list, however, must wait until March 15th.
Two of the most likely destinations for Derek Carr are the New Orleans Saints and the New York Jets.
New Orleans will have a lot to workout behind-the-scenes in terms of cap space. Currently, the Saints rank last in available cap space. Further, there could be turmoil ahead for the Saints coaching staff. Earlier this year, we saw a staff shake-up. If things don’t turn around in New Orleans, we could se a whole new regime.
The New York Jets have all the components to be a competitive team in the NFL, they’re just missing a quarterback. Zach Wilson, the team’s first-round pick in 2021, hasn’t panned out. If the Jets are able to sign Derek Carr, it would certainly signify the end of the Zach Wilson era in New York. For head coach Robert Saleh, quite frankly, it could save his job. He’s currently 11-23 as a head coach in New York, far below what is considered acceptable.
According to reports, the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson still remain far apart in contract negotiations. The Ravens could use the franchise tag on Jackson, either exclusive or non-exclusive. If they use the non-exclusive franchise tag, Lamar could still negotiate a deal with another team. Baltimore would then have the opportunity to match the deal, but if they choose not to, they’d receiver two first-round picks as compensation.
When it comes down to it, I firmly believe that the Ravens and Lamar Jackson will be able to workout a deal to keep the quarterback in Baltimore. Despite the gap in contract negotiations, I think it gets resolved prior to the start of the 2023 NFL season. If not, the exclusive franchise tag seems like the most likely alternative.
Prior to last season, Jimmy Garoppolo signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers, which was worth $7 Million. This season, San Francisco will likely head into training camp with a battle between Trey Lance and Brock Purdy for the starting position. As a result, it’s a certainty that Garoppolo’s time in San Francisco has come to an end.
A reunion with Josh McDaniels, Garoppolo’s former offensive coordinator in New England seems the most likely. McDaniels is now the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, who are now in the QB market following the release of Derek Carr.
However, if the New York Jets are unable to land Derek Carr in free agency, I expect them to pursue Jimmy Garoppolo. This move would give the Jets the opportunity to be patient in their search for a new franchise quarterback, rather than having to select one when they’re out of position to do so.
It was a ‘Prove It’ year for Daniel Jones this season with the Giants. Last April, GM of the Giants Joe Schoen declined the fifth-year option for Daniel Jones, making him a free agent this offseason. With a competent head coach in Brian Daboll, Jones led the Giants to a playoff berth, as well as a win over the Vikings in the Wild Card round.
The most likely landing spot for Daniel Jones in this 2023 free agency group of quarterbacks is to remain with the New York Giants. It wouldn’t take a long-term deal to keep him in New York, but more importantly, it wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. CBS Sports did a great job of looking at a potential contract for Daniel Jones here.
Last season, Geno Smith led the Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs. Furthermore, he did so in their first season without Russell Wilson under center. It didn’t end well for Seattle as they lost to the 49ers 23-41, but it was an impressive season nonetheless.
Both sides are reportedly working on a new deal, which is going well. However, if they’re unable to reach a new deal, the franchise tag seems likely. Therefore, the probable destination for Geno Smith is to remain with the Seattle Seahawks under a new deal.
Quite frankly, it’s been a tumultuous career so far for Baker Mayfield in the NFL. The Cleveland Browns selected Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. However, he never quite lived up to long-term expectations, which resulted in the organization trading for Deshaun Watson. Baker Mayfield was then traded to the Carolina Panthers before finishing up the season in Los Angeles with the Rams.
A return to the Rams could be an option for Mayfield, although I don’t believe that Los Angeles would be willing to offer what Mayfield is looking for. Instead, I believe that possible landing spots for Baker Mayfield are with the New Orleans Saints or Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Mayfield is the best ‘Gap Quarterback’ in this 2023 free agency class of quarterbacks. He’s someone that can give an organization a year or two while the team prepares to draft a franchise quarterback.
Ultimately, I view Sam Darnold as a backup in this league, especially given how his career has played out up to this point. If he does end up as a starting quarterback to kickoff the 2023 NFL season, I don’t think it lasts. Instead, Darnold could start the season before handing the reins over to a young franchise quarterback. Although, he could also end up as a veteran in the quarterback room for a franchise QB to learn from.
Therefore, the most likely outcomes for Sam Darnold in free agency is with a team that selects one of the top quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders, or even a return to the Carolina Panthers on a short-term deal seems the most likely option.