NFL rumors: Saints are pursuing other QB options while they wait on Derek Carr’s decision

The Saints seem to have Derek Carr as its No. 1 priority, but are vetting other options as well while they await his free agency decision.

The New Orleans Saints were able to get their pitch into Derek Carr before any other team, but that, so far, does not seem to have had any impact on speeding up his decision. Carr, reportedly, is going to take a long while to survey his options, meet with teams, and find his next best fit.

He’s right to do so. Unless Aaron Rodgers becomes available, he is the best veteran quarterback available this offseason.

However, with the New York Jets having a reportedly successful meeting with Carr, New Orleans can not assume they have a lead or head start any longer, even if recent moves have positioned them with the financial ability to do so. They need to consider other options, whether it be via trade, upcoming free agency, or the draft.

Saints rumors: Hendon Hooker meeting happened

According to Ryan Fowler of The Draft Network, the Saints are one of several teams to have met with Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker already in the draft process. The other teams to have done so, according to Fowler, are the Raiders, Panthers, Giants, and Cowboys.

As Fowler notes, Hooker tore his ACL during last season and that incident will cause his draft stock to tumble tremendously below what his actual ceiling is. That makes him one of the most intriguing prospects of this cycle, because whatever team selects him will have done so cautiously and could get great value in the late-second-to-mid-third round and beyond.

A team that tries for him early in the second round, though, could be perceived as reaching given the injury concern.

Hooker threw for 58 touchdowns in his final two years at Tennessee, including over 3,000 passing yards in 2022 even before tearing his ACL.

Here are all the picks those teams have in the second and third round:

  • Raiders: 39
  • Panthers: 40
  • Saints: 41
  • Giants: 58
  • Cowboys: 59
  • Panthers: 62
  • Raiders: 71
  • Saints: 72
  • Giants: 90
  • Cowboys: 91
  • Panthers: 94
  • Giants: 101

So, if New Orleans wants him, 41 might be their best bet, barring a trade to shuffle the order around. Four teams that have met with Hooker are poised to make a selection after their second round pick and before their third, where Hooker would be less of a reach.

Hendon Hooker, if he reaches his ceiling, is not a bad pivot for the Saints if they can’t find a quality veteran quarterback, like Carr, this offseason.