The blaring need for the New Orleans Saints heading into the offseason is the quarterback position. It has been a position that has been a question mark ever since Drew Brees retired after the 2020 season. With Jameis Winston as the only quarterback under contract, New Orleans will be expected to be in the market to find their quarterback of the future this offseason. There will be candidates for the Saints can target this offseason and here are some of the likely prospects:
New Orleans has already gotten ahead of multiple teams in the Derek Carr sweepstakes as they were only team to visit with the 31-year old quarterback. The Las Vegas Raiders decided to release the veteran quarterback from the team to avoid having to pay his $40.4 million contract. Carr does have ties with the Saints as current head coach Dennis Allen chose to take Carr in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
He is able to sign with a new team immediately instead of waiting until March 15th when the start of the new league year officially begins. During his career with the Raiders, Carr passed for 35,222 yards and 217 touchdowns. Both were franchise records in the history of the Las Vegas Raiders. The former Fresno State product was 63-79 a starter for the Raiders and he would just make two playoff appearances during his tenure with the franchise.
There is a lot to like with Carr as he has the ability to have a quick arm release and with his strong arm. He is able to put velocity on the ball on his passes, especially pushing the ball down the field. Carr had his weaknesses during the 2022 season as his passer rating, yards per attempt and overall yards per game declined dramatically.
According to Sport Illustrated’s Albert Breer, noted that the New Orleans is a team to watch in free agency for Baker Mayfield. The New Orleans Saints staff was high on Mayfield ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft when the black and gold was going through their draft evaluations. After his brief stint with the Los Angeles Rams, Mayfield will become a free agent this offseason.
Mayfield was the first overall selection of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and received a lot of buzz coming out off a Heisman season during his final year at Oklahoma in 2017. The former Oklahoma quarterback got off to a great start to his NFL career as he threw for 27 touchdowns during his rookie season.
That success wouldn’t last long for Mayfield as he dealt with injuries that kept him off the field during the next few seasons. He would have a stellar 2020 campaign, but outside of that he has ranked at the bottom of the league in a majority of all of the quarterback statistics categories. Mayfield would be traded to the Carolina Panthers heading into the 2022 season, but he only saw action in seven games and didn’t leave a good impressions. Mayfield would end the season with the Rams and finished out the season with Matthew Stafford sidelined with an injury.
Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers and he will become a free agent in March. Garoppolo started his career in the NFL with the New England Patriots and was signed with the 49ers in 2017. Even with injuries that continued to set the veteran quarterback back, he was able to serve a vital role in winning two Super Bowls as a Patriot. He was also able to lead San Francisco to a Super Bowl appearance.
During his first season with the 49ers, Garoppolo wouldn’t become the starting quarterback until Week 13. He was able to hold a 7-0 record in his first games a starter for the franchise. Injuries would knock him out for the 2018 season after he tore his ACL after week three. The former Eastern Illinois product would return to the field for the 2019 season led the 49ers to the Super Bowl where they would end up losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Injuries continued to keep Garoppolo off the field during the 2020 season and that led to him being passed up in the depth chart with young quarterbacks that San Francisco brought in. Trey Lance would end up taking over Garoppolo’s spot heading into the 2022 season, but an injury to both Lance and Garoppolo would lead to Brock Purdy finishing out the season as QB1. Staying healthy has always been a concern for Garoppolo during his career in the NFL, but when he has stepped on the field he has proven he can be a consistent record as he has posted a 35-17 record as a starter.