In what feels like a never-ending cycle, the New Orleans Saints are heading into this year’s offseason with a lot of salary cap issues. They are currently projected to be more than $60 million over the salary cap, which means the front office has a lot of work to do in the coming weeks.
Veterans on large contracts could be on the move as New Orleans has to save money somewhere. A few cut candidates exist on the roster, but they already have some major holes to fill as well. The most challenging one will likely be the quarterback position.
Last season it was Jameis Winston who started early but he gave way to Andy Dalton after he was injured and had ineffective play. The Saints will likely look for an upgrade this offseason, but that is easier said than done given their salary situation.
Who could the Saints look to add at the quarterback position? Here are three that New Orleans should pursue this offseason.
3. Daniel Jones
2022 was a big season for Daniel Jones. The fourth-year quarterback had his fifth-year option declined by the new regime but responded with the best season of his career. The New York Giants went 9-7-1 in the regular season and even won a playoff game with Jones at the helm.
The No. 6 overall pick from the 2019 NFL Draft saw his game taken to new heights as Brian Daboll made the most of his skill set. He is going to cash in on a nice contract this offseason and the Saints could be in on the bidding.
There are still some reservations about Jones being a true franchise quarterback, but when used correctly, he has shown he can be effective. The Saints have some pieces in place that should lead to more success for the Duke product should they be able to open up enough cash to really challenge the Giants.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo
This wasn’t the first time that Jimmy Garoppolo finished the season on injured reserve after injuring his foot in Week 13. But, an argument could be made that he is the best quarterback available in free agency that will be hitting the open market.
While some of his statistics are underwhelming, Garoppolo succeeds in one area and that is winning. At the end of the day, that is the most important statistic and he has done plenty of it during his career with the San Francisco 49ers.
He has some limitations, as he isn’t a superstar that will win you many games with his arm. But he is a steady producer and would certainly raise the floor of a team and be an improvement from what New Orleans had under center the last two seasons. He could be viewed as a bridge option in 2023.
1. Derek Carr
Had the New Orleans Saints had a little more consistent production offensively in 2022, they could have easily made the playoffs. The NFC South was wide open with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning it with a record of 8-9. A similar record could take the crown in 2023, which is why New Orleans could try and go all-in on Derek Carr.
If they can add Carr, they could very well be viewed as the favorites for the division title this upcoming season. There are weapons in place for him to succeed right away with running back Alvin Kamara and emerging wide receiver Chris Olave, who had a great rookie season.
With a top-10 defense already in place, Carr is talented enough to raise this offense to at least the middle of the pack after being in the bottom half and third of most statistics last season. That kind of improvement could be enough to make a playoff appearance next season.