Saints' addition of Derek Carr means NFC South will become 1st division to replace every QB since 1973
You didn't need any help to know the NFC South was bad last season.
The division-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 8-9 and were miserable enough that Tom Brady was widely mocked for supposedly choosing that season over his marriage. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers all finished 7-10 while juggling quarterbacks. Each of those win totals were inflated because each team got to play six games against each other.
And now this very bad division is, in unison, hitting the reset button under center.
The Saints agreed with former Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on a reported four-year, $150 million deal on Monday, with $70 million effectively guaranteed.
The deal, and the expected release of Jameis Winston, effectively guarantees the entire NFC South will begin next season with a quarterback different from their starter in Week 1 of 2022, which a division hasn't done since the 1973 AFC West, per Elias Sports Bureau.
Each case features a very different, but still understandable, reason for the change.
How the NFC South turned over its entire QB lineup
Saints - 2022 Week 1 starter: Jameis Winston, 2023 expected starter: Derek Carr
New Orleans obviously hasn't been the same since Drew Brees retired, but it's now giving up on its "starting Jameis Winston" experiment. The former Buccaneers starter got every opportunity to be the guy for the Saints, but a torn ACL ended his season in 2021 and he ended up riding the bench behind Andy Dalton after returning from a back fracture last season.
Now, the Saints are going with someone from the outside. Carr's effectiveness relative to his salary was a point of frustration for many Raiders fans last year, but he at least been a consistent and productive quarterback since entering the league in 2014. He even made the Pro Bowl last season!
Buccaneers - 2022 Week 1 starter: Tom Brady, 2023 expected starter: Kyle Trask
Tom Brady has finally retired. For real. Unless he didn't.
Assuming Brady's career is indeed over, the Buccaneers are left with a quarterbacks room of Kyle Trask and only Kyle Trask. They will add another in free agency and/or the 2023 NFL draft, but Trask was drafted in the second round out of Florida in 2021 with the hope he could eventually replace Brady.
Trask has appeared in one game in his NFL career as a third-stringer behind Brady and Blaine Gabbert, going 3-for-9 for 23 yards in Week 18 last year.
Panthers - 2022 Week 1 starter: Baker Mayfield, 2023 expected starter: Matt Corral (team has No. 9 pick)
Where to even begin? Plan A for the Panthers last year was Mayfield, whom the team hoped could bounce back from a rough end to his Cleveland Browns career. Plan B was P.J. Walker, whom the team hoped could bounce back from a rough performance last season. Plan C was Sam Darnold, whom the team hoped could bounce back from a rough performance last season and a rough end to his New York Jets career.
Plan A for now is Matt Corral, a 2022 third-round pick who was entertaining at Ole Miss but missed his entire rookie season with a lisfranc injury. The team will almost certainly consider using the ninth overall pick in the 2023 draft on a QB as well.
Falcons - 2022 Week 1 starter Marcus Mariota, 2023 expected starter: Desmond Ridder (team has No. 8 pick)
It's hard to prepare for the departure of a longtime starting quarterback like Matt Ryan (not that Ryan was much good with the Indianapolis Colts), but the Falcons especially struggled. Mariota got his first chance to start since 2019 and ended up starting 13 games, but he was eventually benched and has since been released.
The Falcons picked Desmond Ridder in the third round of last year's draft and give him a four-game audition after sidelining Mariota. The result was 708 passing yards (6.2 yards per attempt), a 63.5% completion rate, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and 64 rushing yards.
This is another team you can bet will be looking for a quarterback next month.