Derek Carr may have a few options in free agency thus far, but there appears to be a slight front-runner for his services next year.
The New York Jets have emerged as the team Carr has a “slight lean toward” over the rest of the competition, ESPN reported.
The report added that New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers are also in the running, however, the Jets have made a great impression on Carr.
New York is still waiting to see what Aaron Rodgers wants to do with his NFL future, but they did have some good impressions of Carr when he visited recently.
GM Joe Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh and owner Woody Johnson were among those who met with Carr when he toured the team’s facilities in Florham Park, N.J. They were also seen grabbing dinner at a local restaurant as well.
“In terms of [how] New York was trying to sell him because, let’s face it, that’s what they’re doing at this point. They were pretty clear with him,” ESPN’s Dianna Russini said at the time of the meeting. “They told him he’s a great quarterback. They believe that he’s got a legit surrounding cast of players. They went through the top [defense], the strong, young skill guys, the explosive run game. They went through top to bottom of why Derek Carr can step in here and take this team not just to the playoffs but to the Super Bowl.
“They made it really personal, too. They said, ‘We believe if you come to New York and win, you could be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.’ So, they went full-in on Derek Carr here and let him know they really want him to play for the New York Jets.”
Those are very strong words for Carr, who will be entering his 10th NFL season next year.
The Jets believe they are a quarterback away from finally breaking their playoff drought (they haven’t made it since 2010), and Carr’s release from the Las Vegas Raiders added a strong candidate to their list.
Carr brought the Raiders to the playoffs two years ago, though he had a down year in 2022. But the Jets feel they have the right pieces in place – a solid receiving corps anchored by Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, a powerful run game with Breece Hall expected to return from injury, and a strong offensive line.
At this stage of his career, Carr wants to have a good supporting cast so he can attempt a Super Bowl run. Of the teams looking to add him to their roster, perhaps Carr does feel the Jets are ready to take that step.
The new league year is set to open March 15 when other free agents will be allowed to talk to teams. Carr’s window is closing as the top quarterback available to speak now. But ESPN did note that he’s expected to take his free agency into this week as he continues to consider his options.
The Jets were primed to make the playoffs until they hit a rough patch at the wrong time in the second half of the season. A lot of their struggles pointed to their quarterback struggles as Zach Wilson regressed while Mike White and Joe Flacco couldn’t pick up the slack.
The Jets made it known they want a veteran quarterback and made their pitch to Carr. That pitch may have been the best he’s heard so far.