Jon Gruden is back in the NFL… well, sort of.

Former Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and ESPN broadcaster Jon Gruden, who has been persona non grata in the league since his resignation from the Raiders in October, 2021, is back in the NFL… to a point, as a consultant for the New Orleans Saints, as the Saints try to extract the most from new quarterback Derek Carr. The Saints signed Carr to a four-year, $150 million contract with $100 million guaranteed as they attempt to get the game’s most important position back on track — something the franchise hasn’t enjoyed since Drew Brees’ salad days.

In this process, the Saints are availing themselves of all possible options, including Gruden’s insight.

From’s Jeff Duncan:

Carr worked primarily out of West Coast offenses in Las Vegas. Head coaches Jon Gruden and Josh McDaniels ran similar offensive systems to the one the Saints have employed since Sean Payton initially implemented the scheme in 2006. In fact, Payton’s offense was heavily influenced by Gruden from their time together on the Philadelphia Eagles staff in 1997.

To facilitate the transition, the Saints signed two of Carr’s old Raiders targets in free agency: wide receiver Bryan Edwards and tight end Foster Moreau. The club also brought in Gruden this week to pick his brain about the offensive transition. The longtime head coach spent much of his time at the Saints facility with Carr and the offensive coaching staff as they orchestrated the early stages of the offensive installation.

Gruden has a unique familiarity with Carr and the Saints’ offensive scheme so the move to bring him to campus makes sense. Statistically, Carr enjoyed the best years of his career in his three-plus seasons under Gruden from 2018 to 2021.

Of course, there’s what happened in 2021 that pushed things off the ledge for the Raiders, and for Carr himself. Gruden resigned from the team after reports from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal disclosed e-mails in which Gruden used words and terms that were racist, sexist, and homophobic.

It’s highly unlikely that any team would accept Gruden as a head coach or assistant coach with all that attendant baggage, but the Saints seemed to see value in his consultancy.