Michael Thomas helped recruit Derek Carr to New Orleans as the quarterback was weighing his options. Carr ended up picking the Saints over the Panthers and the Jets, though it took some time to get there.
In the receiver’s opinion, it took too much time.
“When he started recruiting and talking to me, he wasn’t even trying to recruit me,” Carr said, via Katherine Terrell of ESPN. “He was just like, ‘When are we getting to work? We’re wasting time. Time is ticking.’ I was like, ‘Dude, I’m the same way. We’ll get there.’ But I think that our relationship has grown through the process, and I’m looking forward to hopefully making that relationship grow even stronger.”
Carr and Thomas had several phone conversations, and the quarterback told Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis that he felt like he and Thomas could “go out there and face the world.”
Carr now is trying to recruit Thomas back to New Orleans.
The Saints have until March 17 to get a new deal done with Thomas or they will have to cut him to avoid a $31.7 million roster bonus. A report this week indicated the sides are making progress on a contract.
“I told my wife when I got off the phone [with Thomas] and [she] just asked ‘Why are you smiling?’ and I was like, ‘I love this guy,'” Carr said. “He’s so competitive, and I think the energy that he brings it’s a very exciting time to throw him the football.”
In the three seasons since a 149-catch, 1,725-yard season in 2019, Thomas has only 56 receptions for 609 yards and three touchdowns. But the Saints have had Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian and Ian Book as their starting quarterbacks in the two seasons since Drew Brees retired.
Carr enters the NFC South as the best quarterback in the division. The Panthers, who traded for the No. 1 pick Friday, will have a rookie quarterback; the Bucs are starting over at the position after Tom Brady and could have Kyle Trask as their starter; and the Falcons currently have Desmond Ridder.