What we’re hearing at the scouting combine about the Saints’ pursuit of Derek Carr

Everything we know about the Carr situation.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Saints will meet with Derek Carr this week at the scouting combine as their pursuit of the quarterback continues. Here’s what we know.

STILL INTERESTED: New Orleans’ last meeting with Carr was nearly three weeks ago, which, when it comes to pursuing free agents, seems like an eternity. But that passage of time is not indicative of anything. The Saints still remain highly interested in Carr, and Carr remains interested in the Saints.

The quarterback will also meet with the New York Jets a second time, and the Carolina Panthers are also said to be scheduling a meeting. So, this is still a race, but the Saints are positioned well, and sources say behind the scenes, the team feels confident about where it is positioned in its pursuit of Carr.

Anything can happen and don’t discount the possibility of another team coming out of nowhere with the whole league in Indianapolis this week. Still, the Saints have played this well so far.

THE PRICE: One of the more surprising things about the Carr situation is the price, and that might be why this situation has played out so slowly.

Carr made an average of $38 million per season on his deal with the Raiders. The Saints offered less money than that, and people around the league we’ve spoken with on this situation believe that Carr’s next deal will come in below $35 million per season. The question is how low does that number fall? Could it be $25 million? Will it be $30 million? Ultimately, the final price will likely depend on how many teams get involved.

That price point is pretty surprising, considering how quarterbacks around the league are paid. Here’s a look at guys in a similar territory.

• Dak Prescott — $40 million
• Kirk Cousins — $35 million
• Jared Goff — $33.5 million
• Matt Ryan — $30 million
• Ryan Tannehill — $29.5 million
• Jameis Winston — $14 million

Should Carr make more than Goff? A strong case could be made, but it looks like the quarterback is being reasonable about his worth.

THE MARKET: The Jets are still monitoring the quarterback market and are interested in Aaron Rodgers should he become available. And Carolina has the ninth pick in the draft, and it would be a surprise if the team doesn’t look closely at its options in the draft for a quarterback.

So, right now, New Orleans is the team most seriously pursuing Carr. One could argue the Jets have the best roster, but competing with the Bills, Dolphins and Patriots every year could be tough.

The Saints and Carolina both offer a weak division and good weather, but New Orleans is less likely to bring in a young quarterback behind Carr. For better or worse, he’d be their guy now and in the immediate future. That’s security.

But ultimately, this will come down to feel and, to some degree, money. A clearer picture of this should all unfold this week in Indianapolis, and this could be progressing to a resolution sooner than later.

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