The Derek Carr era in New Orleans has officially begun. The Saints introduced their new quarterback, who struck a four-year, $150 million contract with the team earlier this week after spending the beginning of his career with the Raiders.
Carr said one of the major reasons he landed with the Saints is their interest in him throughout the process.
"It showed me how they felt about me from the beginning," Carr said (via NFL.com). "They were very honest and clear ... The fact they were even willing to trade for me, that meant something. That shows me that you are showing value without showing me value. You're valuing me as a quarterback and as a human without having to say anything. That meant something and that meant a lot."
Looking at all his options, Carr expressed that the choice was easy because of how much the Saints offered, from their interest, to his relationship with head coach Dennis Allen and the "explosive" offense.
"There were a lot of good things about other places, but it's hard to find place that has almost everything," the 31-year-old said. " ... The most important thing to me was the character of the men in the room, not really the ranking and that kind of thing."
One major aspect of that offense is wide receiver Michael Thomas, another addition to Carr's pro column for New Orleans. He spoke to the energy Thomas brought and how their conversations gave him hope for their future as a QB/WR duo going forward.
"... You talk to Mike Thomas you feel like you two can go face the world. I told my wife when I got off the phone and just asked 'why are you smiling?' and I was like, I love this guy; he's so competitive and I think the energy that he brings it's a very exciting time to throw him the football," Carr said. "So, when he started recruitment talking to me and all that he wasn't even trying to recruit me he was like, 'When are we getting to work? We are wasting time.' And I was like, I feel the same way but we'll get there and I think our relationship has grown through this process and I look forward to making it stronger."
The Saints needed to address their need for a quarterback this offseason and feel they found someone who can be more consistent in Carr. While Carr can help complete the offense, he knows the bigger goal will take everyone's effort.
"If we want to go far, we have to go together," he said. "It's not just because Derek shows up that we are going to do anything special. It's because we all decided as a collective unit to go in one direction and do it the same way. That starts in OTAs in April and getting everybody here and getting to work if we want to do what we want to do."
He does not want to make it the "Derek Carr show, explaining that he is "not coming in here to try to take anything over."
"I'm going to be me and I'm going to call out what I want to call out. I'm going to encourage what I think should be encouraged, but I'm here to do this with Cam (Jordan), DeMario (Davis), Tyrann (Mathieu), Taysom (Hill), Alvin (Kamara) and Mike (Thomas)," Carr said.
Carr was benched for the last two games of the Raiders 6-11 season and it was obvious he would be packing up and heading to another team. Last season, Carr threw for 3,522 yards, with 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Despite how things ended, Carr did take the time to thank the Raiders, who drafted him in 2014.
"I have to say thank you to the Raiders," Carr said (via 24/7 Sports). "To Oakland and Las Vegas. I wouldn't be me if I didn't say thank you to them. I had nine great years there and a lot of good memories."
The Saints finished 7-10 last season, despite a solid defense, showing the team has not been able to find their long-term starting quarterback since Drew Brees retired. The former Saints QB may be retired, but he still has time to help out the newest members of the squad.
"To the city of New Orleans, thank you for welcoming my wife and my children literally everywhere we have gone," Carr said. "…I thank Drew Brees for reaching out to me and answering a lot of my questions."