Posted on: March 6, 2023, 11:58h.
Last updated on: March 6, 2023, 01:08h.
The New Orleans Saints are the new betting favorite to win the NFC South and their Super Bowl odds have improved after they agreed to sign free-agent quarterback Derek Carr to a four-year deal.
The Saints were +5000 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII over the weekend, but oddsmakers at DraftKings adjusted their NFL championship futures to +3500 after they added Carr. In Western Conference futures, the Saints moved into the eighth spot on the betting board at +1500 odds.
In NFL divisional futures, the Saints have become an early favorite to win the NFC South at +140 odds after the addition of Carr.
The Las Vegas Raiders released Carr, who had been their starting quarterback for the last nine seasons. The Raiders were rumored to add Jimmy Garoppolo in free agency or acquire Aaron Rodgers in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. At any rate, the writing was on the wall for Carr, who wanted out of Sin City after his relationship with the front office soured last season.
Carr initially met with the Saints, but the New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, and Tampa Bay Bucs were also interested in his services.
Saints Lead Wide-Open NFC South
The Saints were 7-10 last season and missed the playoffs. Quarterback Jameis Winston was fresh off an ACL injury and reconstructive knee surgery. He appeared in only three games due to a fractured back, and the Saints were 1-2 in his three starts.
Backup quarterback Andy Dalton was thrust into the starting role for the Saints, and he went 6-8 as the starter in 14 games.
Despite their up-and-down season in 2022, the Saints still had a chance to win the division late into December. The NFC South was easily the worst division in the NFL last season and included four teams with losing records. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured a postseason berth by clinching the NFC South with an 8-9 record. The Saints finished in third place in their division.
Quarterback Tom Brady finally retired, and the Bucs don’t have a starting quarterback. The NFC South is wide open without Brady suiting up for the Bucs.
The Saints are the consensus favorite at +140 odds to win the NFC South, ahead of the Carolina Panthers (+240), the Bucs (+390), and the Atlanta Falcons (+450).
The Panthers are rumored to move up in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft by acquiring the #1 pick in a trade with the Chicago Bears. Numerous teams are desperate for a quarterback and are engaging in trade talks for the #1 pick so they can draft Alabama’s Bryce Young.
Carr Never Won a Playoff Game
Carr posted a 6-9 record as a starter with the Raiders last season and was benched in the final two games. He appeared in 142 games with the Raiders and went 63-79 as a starter.
Carr had a subpar season in 2022, completing 60.8% of his passes for 3,522 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. He finished the season with a 55.5 QBR rating, ranked #14 in the NFL.
Over his nine-year career, Carr completed 64.6% of his passes for 217 touchdowns and 99 interceptions. He added six rushing touchdowns.
Carr is 0-1 in his lone playoff start. The Raiders qualified for the playoffs twice during Carr’s tenure, but he was injured late in 2016 and didn’t start in the AFC wild card that year. Two seasons ago, the Raiders finished the season with a 10-7 record but lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2021 AFC wild card.
Carr has a close relationship with Saints head coach Dennis Allen. When Allen was the head coach of the then-Oakland Raiders, he heavily lobbied the Raiders to draft Carr. They selected him with a second-round pick as the #36 overall player in the 2014 NFL Draft. Allen also made the decision to start Carr as a rookie.
Winston is still under contract with the Saints, but the team is expected to release him to save salary cap space.
Carr Out, New York Jets All-In on Rodgers?
The New York Jets had several good meetings with Carr in recent weeks. Over the weekend, Carr’s agent told the press he was leaning toward signing with the Jets. However, Carr signed with the Saints on Monday.
The Jets are pursuing future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has yet to decide on his prickly relationship with Green Bay. Rodgers returned to civilization last week after attending a darkness retreat when the season ended. He indicated he’ll decide soon whether he will remain with the Packers, retire, or ask for a trade.
The Packers hinted that they won’t trade Rodgers to an NFC team, which is why AFC teams like the Jets, Raiders, and Tennessee Titans became leading contenders to add Rodgers in a trade.
With Carr out of the running, the Jets will ramp up their pursuit of Rodgers. They already made a major coaching change to entice Rodgers to join Gang Green. The Jets hired his former offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, in hopes of luring him to the team.
If, by chance, Rodgers stays in Green Bay or retires, then the Jets will scramble and try to sign Garoppolo. Multiple teams are interested in Garoppolo, including the Raiders, Bucs, Panthers, and Washington Commanders.