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Quarterback options for the Saints headed into the offseason

The Saints need an improvement at Quarterback, but what options are out there?

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The New Orleans Saints are in need of a Quarterback. Andy Dalton was average last year, but neither he nor Jameis Winston are either a long-term investment or a win-now type QB. Jameis is still under contract (something that can’t be said for Dalton) but the Saints’ reluctance to go back to Winston when Dalton had some struggles last year doesn’t bode well for his future in New Orleans. The Saints still have the talent to win a Super Bowl if they bring in a Pro Bowl level Quarterback (and are able to stay healthy), and also have enough key pieces under contract to be able to take a chance on a young or rookie QB who can be developed over time at a lower price.

Whether it be money or assets in a trade, the Saints are going to have to give up something to get a Quarterback they can win with due to their lack of a first round pick. Determining what or how much to sacrifice to acquire a Quarterback is a tough question, but it’s one the Saints are going to have to answer unless they decide to go for a full on rebuild. But since rebuilding is no fun let’s find some potential options for the Saints under center for 2023.

Trade Options

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Derek Carr

Carr is done in Las Vegas. The question now is where will he wind up? The Saints could put together a package that might include Michael Thomas. If Thomas is included in a trade for Carr the Saints should look to get additional assets in return. The Saints could trade some of their remaining draft picks as well, including their 2nd round or 3rd round picks this year or their 1st round pick next year. If they are able to acquire a first round pick for Sean Payton that also could become an asset to be flipped towards acquiring Carr. The other issue in acquiring Carr is he is not cheap, as his cap hit will be over $34 million. It is doable for the Saints to afford Carr but they would have to do some work.

Trade: 2023 3rd round and 2024 2nd round picks for Carr

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Aaron Rodgers

This one is a long shot, but Rodgers is another QB that is clearly done with his current team. A trade package for Rodgers would be similar to one for Carr, which may include Michael Thomas and draft picks for the Packers to rebuild around Jordan Love with. Rodgers is actually cheaper than Carr in 2023, as his cap hit will only be $31 million next year. But after that Rodgers’ contract explodes as he will be owed over $150 million from 2024-2026, and would be 43 years old by then. Rodgers would be a good acquisition and would make the Saints contenders in the NFC if they don’t give up too much, but the window of opportunity would be very narrow.

Trade: Michael Thomas and 2023 2nd round pick for Rodgers

Free Agent Options

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Lamar Jackson

This one is also far fetched, as the Saints would have to do some serious salary cap maneuvering in order to be able to afford Jackson. The former MVP will almost certainly be a free agent, but it remains to be seen just how much he will demand on the open market. If the Saints are somehow able to sign Jackson they would be instant contenders of they aren’t forced to sacrifice too much.

Contract: 5-years $195 million

Jimmy Garoppolo

The emergence of Brock Purdy in San Francisco could mean we finally get to see Jimmy G elsewhere. Garoppolo is a free agent this year, and would likely be more expensive than Purdy and Trey Lance combined. The QB controversy in San Francisco this offseason will be between Purdy and Lance, and it does not make any sense for them to bring back Garoppolo now. He would be cheaper than Lamar Jackson but it would still take a lot of cap clearing by the front office in order to make room. Garoppolo would be an upgrade over Andy Dalton, but his health is a concern and he is not a long term option, but he is one the Saints could make a deep playoff run with if everything goes right.

Contract: 4-years $50 million

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Tom Brady

Ok ok, hear me out. Brady is done in Tampa, but seems like he is leaning towards returning to the NFL for another year or two. Again the Saints would have to clear some cap space, but Brady is known for taking team friendly deals in order to free up room for other players if he thinks they can make a run at a title. Brady of course isn’t a long term option, but if the Saints can convince him he can win a Super Bowl here and he can be gotten for a “modest” amount of money, they would be fools to not go after him.

Contract: 1-year $11 million

Geno Smith

Geno Smith had quite the contract year. He broke Russell Wilson’s franchise passing yards record and led the Seahawks to the playoffs while Wilson was left on the cutting room floor. The Seahawks will likely bring him back, but if they want to get younger and move on from the 32 year old Smith the Saints should look to pursue him if they can get the salary cap in order.

Contract: 3-years $78 million

Andy Dalton

Dalton is the most likely option here, as he could be had for the least amount of money. If the Saints are still not confident in Jameis Winston they may look to bring Dalton back and ride it out for another year until they have a first round draft pick. Dalton can win you games but it’s going to take a perfectly healthy season for the Saints to have any kind of chance at the playoffs. It’s hard to gauge how strong the NFC South will be at this point, but all signs point to it still being one of the weaker divisions in the NFL. Nine or ten wins could win the division next year, as just eight wins won it this year, and Dalton can get them there but only in a perfect world.

Contract: 1-year $3.5 million

Draft Options

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Anthony Richardson

Richardson is a QB who will be drafted in the first round based on his upside, not his stats in college. He has all the physical tools, and is going to tear up the scouting combine in a few months, but he did only throw 17 touchdowns to 9 interceptions at Florida this year. To be fair, this was Richardson’s first year as a starter and he had maybe the worst cast of receivers in recent memory for the Gators. I live in Gainesville and went to nearly every home game for Florida this year, and despite Richardson not quite living up to expectations in college this year he still has massive upside due to the fact that every time he takes the field he is going to be the best athlete out there once he reaches his prime. Richardson seemed not as willing to run as you thought he would have been this year, and I don’t know why that was, but if he decides to really unleash his running ability he could be a special player. The Saints will have to trade up into the first round to acquire him, but if scouts choose to look at the stats rather than the measurables the Saints may only have to get into the early 20s which can certainly be done, especially if they acquire a first round pick in a trade involving Sean Payton.

Saints trade their 2nd round pick this year and 1st round pick next year for a top-15 pick

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Hendon Hooker

Hooker is the best option the Saints can get without having to trade up or break the bank. He is 25 years old and coming off a torn ACL, but his upside is still enough for the Saints to take him in the second or third round. Hooker is a player who would come in with plenty of experience should be able to learn the offense quickly. He also takes great care of the ball, as he only threw 5 interceptions over his last two years in college while completing 69% of his passes. If the Saints get assurances that he is healthy and don’t have any predilections about his age Hooker could be a good fit given that he would be the easiest QB to acquire.

Saints select Hooker in the 2nd round

Jaren Hall

The BYU QB is another that the Saints could get without having to give anything up, as he will likely be available on day 3 of the draft. Hall is another two year starter in college like Hooker, who threw 51 TDs and 11 INTs over the last two years. He has good mobility and a strong arm but footwork and accuracy issues will need to be worked on as he makes the next step into the NFL. He isn’t as day 1 ready as Hooker would be or the athlete that Richardson is, but he has the tools to be someone like Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson, a late round QB who is able to come in and perform in the perfect situation.

Saints select Hall in the 4th round


How would you like the Saints to acquire a QB this offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Free Agency
    (182 votes)
  • 13%
    Trade up in the draft
    (124 votes)
  • 39%
    Draft a QB without trading up
    (358 votes)
  • 17%
    Trade for a veteran
    (156 votes)
  • 10%
    Ride with Jameis/bring back Dalton
    (93 votes)
913 votes total Vote Now

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