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How Derek Carr Landing With Saints Could Impact Broncos

Derek Carr is taking his talents to New Orleans which could shake Jameis Winston loose.
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The New Orleans Saints are about to sign quarterback Derek Carr to a four-year deal, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Carr was released by the Las Vegas Raiders on February 14, but it didn't take him long to land on his feet. 

Carr taking his talents to the bayou could have a ripple effect on the Denver Broncos. In more ways than one. 

First, and most obviously, Carr leaving the AFC West is good for the Broncos. Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels will have to start from scratch at quarterback and that'll take time to get up to speed, if it ever does. 

Second, and perhaps more intriguingly, Carr's arrival in New Orleans creates an unstable situation for Jameis Winston. The Broncos are in search of the right backup quarterback behind Russell Wilson and we've long anticipated that for that role, Sean Payton might be inclined to target a veteran with whom he has experience. 

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There are several quarterbacks who fit that bill, but Winston is certainly one of them. Before Broncos Country goes rolling its eyes at the prospect of Winston landing in Denver, remember that in Payton's final season in New Orleans, he turned to the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft to start seven games. 

Winston went 5-2 as a starter in 2021 with the Saints, passing for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions. His 102.8 QB rating was a career high. 

The fly in the ointment for Denver would be the fact that while Carr is soon going to don the fleur-de-lis, Winston is still under contract and set to make a $12.8 million base salary in 2023. As a post-June 1 designation, New Orleans could save all $12.8M on the cap with a $2.8M dead-cap hit by cutting him. 

The Saints could try to trade Winston, and if that were the case, although the Broncos lack capital, they'd likely at least see what Mickey Loomis' ask was. Lacking a first and second-round draft pick this year, it's doubtful the Broncos would be all that intersted in trading for Winston, and the same would go for most NFL teams, because the Saints would be so incentivized to simply release him as a post-June 1 cut (when the time comes). 

So a team like the Broncos would be more inclined to wait it out and if Winston hits the market, see about recruiting him to the Mile High City for a reunion with the coach who gleaned the best version out of the former Florida State Seminole. 

For now, file this under 'to be determined' but don't completely sleep on the possibility. We don't yet know what the Saints have offered Carr, but it'll be big money and it's unlikely they'll want to keep Winston's contract on the books, too. 

The Broncos are all in on Wilson but he's entering his age-35 season and has missed starts in each of the past two seasons. The Broncos will want to upgrade their backup quarterback position for this very reason — a guy who could keep the Payton ship afloat if Wilson needed a few games to heal up. 

For what it's worth, there are a few other ex-Payton quarterbacks the Broncos could target for a less-complex transaction. Guys like Teddy Bridgewater and Chase Daniel are free agents. 

Stay tuned. 

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