I guess we are forced into addressing the Michael Thomas situation as his relationship with the Saints is deteriorating before our eyes on social media. It's pretty obvious the former two-time All-Pro, three-time Pro Bowler and 2019 NFL Offensive Player of the Year doesn't want to be with the franchise any longer after also ghosting team officials in the offseason and waiting until June to get ankle surgery. That said, SportsLine oddsmakers favor Thomas to still be a member of the team following the Nov. 2 Trade Deadline.
Thomas is in the midst of a five-year, $96.25 million contract but is owed no guaranteed money after 2021. According to Pro Football Talk, if Thomas was traded (he's way too good to be released), he would leave $8.9 million in dead cap space for 2021 and a $22.7 million cap charge in 2022. That's a combined $32.6 million in dead money.
Some of Thomas' unhappiness with the team could be due to the retirement of Drew Brees. Thomas wrote a very emotional farewell to Brees in social media back in March.
New Orleans believes it still has a Super Bowl-caliber roster whether it's Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill (or some combination) under center in Week 1. If the Saints traded Thomas and didn't get a good receiver back, they would have arguably the worst group of wideouts in the NFL with Tre'Quan Smith (banged up), Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris (facing possible suspension for offseason DUI) and Chris Hogan as the likely top four. That's not good.
There's also obviously the fact Thomas is hurt right now – that ankle issue contributed to his hugely disappointing 2020 season -- and could miss the first six weeks of the year following the delayed ankle surgery. The NFL Trade Deadline occurs after Week 8, so if Thomas were to at least play a few games beforehand and show he's healthy, that might increase the chances he is traded by the deadline.
A deal with Jacksonville for 2020 first-round cornerback CJ Henderson has been bandied about and the Saints do need cornerback help opposite Marshon Lattimore. Thomas of course played for Jags coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Jacksonville does have a ton of salary cap space.
CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin ranked a list of potential suitors in this order: Jaguars, Chargers, Ravens, Patriots, Chiefs, Jets and Eagles. Not sure I agree with some of those. Miami should be on there (he does note the team in Honorable Mention); the Fins could send back wideout DeVante Parker as part of any package and they have a ton of upcoming draft capital.
Kansas City would be downright frightening with Thomas, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, but the Chiefs would have to work some salary-cap magic. If, and it's a big if, Thomas is traded, the Saints almost surely want him out of the NFC.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Which team will Michael Thomas be on following the 2021 NFL Trade Deadline?
- Saints -400
- Jaguars +400
- Dolphins +500
- Ravens +800
- Chiefs +1000
- Colts +1200
- Jets +1300
- Packers +1500
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