When a team of really smart people makes a really dumb decision, it’s really hard to understand how they could be so wrong. Well, the Saints did it again, signing Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks to new big money contracts just months after cutting them and letting them walk as free agents. Now, they’re getting a whopping $100 million in exchange for signing and then letting them walk, and the Saints better hope they can use that money profitably.
Saints fans have been waiting for this day for weeks. The day when Michael Thomas and the rest of the New Orleans Saints would announce the news of the NFL’s new $100 million deal for their star receiver. The Saints new deal with Thomas will be the richest in the NFL history. But when Michael Thomas finally dropped the news, the reaction was not what the fans were hoping for.
If you are following the New Orleans Saints , you may have heard the rumors that they will be releasing wide receiver Michael Thomas in free agency this offseason. That is, of course, if the Saints don’t cut him before then. We haven’t heard anything official, but the rumors are very real.
Could Michael Thomas be a case of buyer’s remorse for the New Orleans Saints?
According to the most recent information on the highly-paid wideout’s situation for the 2023 season, he won’t be making any huge plays anytime soon. Given all that has happened with their top pass-catcher over the past year or so, the Saints committed a $100 million mistake two summers ago.
Sean Payton’s squad has little chance of winning the Super Bowl this season unless he can regularly produce points without Thomas in the lineup.
Michael Thomas’s 2023 season was marred by injuries and controversy.
Thomas had a record-setting 2019 season, with 149 catches for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns after signing a record-setting contract that summer. During his injury-plagued, drama-filled 2023 season, though, the 6-foot-3, 212-pound wideout didn’t come close to matching those statistics.
After back-to-back first-team All-Pro seasons, Thomas had a down year in his fifth season with the Saints. He was limited to just seven games due to a persistent high ankle injury, and his ultimate stat total of 40 receptions for 438 yards was unimpressive.
What is the most surprising of all?
No touchdowns were scored by the three-time Pro Bowler.
Thomas didn’t live up to expectations (or his salary) in 2023, despite the Saints paying him $21 million in cash.
Aside from his poor on-field performance, the 28-year-old found himself in the news for other reasons. For assaulting teammate Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in practice, Thomas received a fine and was forced to miss a game. There was also talk of a possible deal involving Drew Brees’ best weapon.
In other words, Thomas moved from being one of the team’s most important players to a big annoyance.
The newest information on Thomas makes him seem to be a $100 million blunder.
The new report on Thomas bodes problems for everyone involved, as the team desperately needs a bounce-back season.
The Saints officially put their best receiver on the physically unable to perform list on Monday, July 26. Of course, they had to make that decision since Thomas had postponed surgery to mend ligaments in his ankle until June. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the All-Pro wideout has a four-month rehabilitation timeline and is anticipated to return against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7.
The Saints will have to operate their offense without the help of their No. 1 receiver once again. Given his expected recuperation period, Thomas’ choice to postpone surgery until June seems to be much worse. Instead of dealing with the problem when the Saints were ousted from the playoffs in January, he waited until a month before training camp to address it. Given how much difficulty his injured ankle caused him last season, it’s hard to understand why Thomas didn’t do all he could to go back to 100 percent for the 2023 season.
The fact of the matter is that the Saints haven’t received much of a return on their investment.
Sure, Thomas had a fantastic year in 2019. But, given his injury-plagued, distraction-filled 2023 campaign and the way he’s handled his ankle ailment, it’s reasonable to call his contract into question. After all, by the conclusion of the 2023 season, the Saints will have paid Thomas almost $34 million in cash for his limited availability and performance over the previous two years. Unless he goes on a tear when he returns nearly halfway through the season, he will most likely fall short of expectations once again.
New Orleans isn’t likely to enjoy the benefits of Thomas’ $100 million extension anytime soon. We have an obvious example of money that is not being used wisely in this instance.
Because of the great receiver’s deteriorating health, Saints supporters can not expect to see their club in the Super Bowl anytime soon.
Michael Thomas, a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, looks forward during a game from the 2023 season. | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Unfortunately for Saints fans, the Thomas scenario seems to be a significant issue for an offense that is already dealing with a quarterback transition. With either Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston poised to take over for Brees in 2023, New Orleans’ offense will certainly look different. Without Thomas’ large physique and vast catch radius at his disposal, whomever wins the starting position will have an uphill task making plays in the passing game.
The Saints may rapidly fall behind in the NFC if he is out for an extended period of time. If the offense can’t consistently move the chains and produce points, the defense will be placed under greater pressure to perform. Even a strong team headed by Cameron Jordan, Marshon Lattimore, and Demario Davis, though, need assistance. It doesn’t speak good for Payton’s squad if the defense is forced to remain on the field owing to the offense’s difficulties.
Michael Thomas may be paid to catch passes in the end, but his presence (or absence) has a significant impact on the organization.
It seems that the Saints will continue to make a rich young guy as he recovers from a setback that should have been dealt with a long time ago.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics. Spotrac provided all contract information.
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Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard rumblings about the New Orleans Saints making an offer on wide receiver Michael Thomas, but we haven’t heard anything for a while now. Well, we have news this morning that the Saints have indeed made a $100 million offer for Thomas.. Read more about michael thomas injury history and let us know what you think.
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