Panthers HC Frank Reich 'Not Ready to Discuss' Derek Carr Pursuit amid Jets Rumors

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 21, 2023

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 02: AFC quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders passes during the Pro Bowl Games skills events on February 02, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers have been considered a potential landing spot for quarterback Derek Carr, but new head coach Frank Reich told reporters Tuesday it's too early in the process to know his plans at the position:

"Interesting question. We're really literally sitting down with the guys today. First staff meeting will be tomorrow. But I've kind of met with guys individually saying, here's what we're doing. Step one, let's evaluate our roster. So, we're really just starting that process. So, step two, evaluate the free agents. Everybody got their list. Step three, now we're going to the college guys.
"So, that process has literally [just] begun, so really not ready to discuss the specifics of that because we're really just beginning."

Carr already visited with the New York Jets, leading to "rave reviews on both ends," per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. He also visited the New Orleans Saints facility this month.

The nine-year veteran was released by the Las Vegas Raiders last week in a move that avoided more than $40 million in guarantees.

The Panthers were immediately linked to the four-time Pro Bowler, with ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting expected interest.

Carolina has unsuccessfully cycled through quarterbacks in recent years, with Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, PJ Walker, Cam Newton and Teddy Bridgewater getting starts under Matt Rhule and interim coach Steve Wilks.

Matt Corral, a 2022 third-round pick, is the team's only quarterback under contract for 2023 besides practice squad player Jacob Eason.

Reich also has experience going through different passers during his five years with the Indianapolis Colts. After coaching Andrew Luck in 2018, the team tried Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan under center over the past four seasons.

After Carolina hired him this offseason, Reich is once again looking for an answer at quarterback.

Carr could fill an immediate need after averaging 3,914 passing yards and 24 touchdowns per season across his time with the Raiders. Even in a disappointing 2022, his 55.5 total QBR ranked 14th of 31 qualified players, putting him above league average and ahead of any of the Panthers quarterbacks from last season.

Reich and the rest of the coaching staff still plan to evaluate all options, including both free agency and the draft with the No. 9 overall pick.

As Carr's brother, David Carr, revealed this week: "It's gonna be a long process."