New Saints QB Derek Carr excited for opportunity

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Although Derek Carr has not known anything but the Raiders in nine seasons as an NFL quarterback, he is ready to embrace a new opportunity with the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints introduced their latest acquisition on Saturday in a news conference that lasted 45 minutes. Carr was joined by coach Dennis Allen, his family and members of the Saints front office.

New Orleans first tried to trade for Carr before the Las Vegas Raiders released him last month. That stuck with Carr as he entertained other offers.

"You're valuing me as a quarterback, me as a human, without even having to say anything," Carr said. "I'd be lying to you if I said I didn’t have a chip on my shoulder with how everything finished.

"It lit a fire in me that I’ve always had. But it just made it hotter and gave me this excitement to where I can’t wait to get to another building and just show what I’m capable of."

The Saints' brass and Allen, who was the Raiders' coach when Carr was drafted in 2014, did not need convincing. The team went all out to persuade Carr it was the best fit for him, and they agreed on a four-year, $150 million contract Monday.

"He was clearly our number one target in terms of what we wanted to do at the quarterback position," Allen said.

"We wanted to be first out there and just make sure that he knew he was the number one option."

One of several Saints players that reached out to Carr was record-setting receiver Michael Thomas, whose contract status and injury-plagued past three seasons have created uncertainty about his future with the club.

Carr sounded eager to work with Thomas, and confident he might get that chance, even though it would virtually require Thomas – the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year - and the Saints to agree by Friday on a more salary cap-friendly contract.

"He wasn’t even trying to recruit me," Carr said. "He was just like, ‘When are we getting to work, we’re wasting time, time is ticking'."

Carr is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and is the Raiders’ all-time leader in yards passing (35,222) and touchdown passes (217), but the team made the playoffs just twice with him at QB and did not win a postseason game.

The Saints have not made the playoffs since franchise all-time passer Drew Brees retired after the 2020 season. New Orleans went 9-8 in 2021 and 7-10 last season.