Michael Thomas has been the best receiver we have seen in the black and gold since Marques Colston. While Colston still holds his legacy as the best to play the position in Saints history for now, the aptly referred Can’t Guard Mike is hot on his trails.
On Wednesday, after a six-day training camp holdout, including reporting day, the Saints and Michael Thomas agreed to a historic contract extension. The Saints have made Thomas the highest paid WR in NFL history and the first non-QB to break the $20M per year ceiling. The contract is a 5-year $100M deal with $61M guaranteed and a $20M signing bonus. $32.6M is said to be paid out to Thomas through 2020. Additional contract details have not yet been released but this certainly makes up for averaging only $1.28M over his rookie deal.
Some have criticized the deal saying that the Saints have overpaid for Thomas but have yet to take into account the cap space opening soon with a presumed to be departing Drew Brees in the next year or two. Nor do they understand the accolades that Thomas has garnered since arriving in New Orleans. But beyond that, they very simply don’t understand the Saints.
While New Orleans has seen a ton of offensive talent pass through the Big Easy over the years, they simply have not shelled out the money to keep them around. The previously highest paid skill position player was Jimmy Graham at $10M APY. Once it looked like the Saints would have to pay him any more than that (not to mention going to court over position designations) they traded him to Seattle. Same with Brandin Cooks who would eventually receive a huge pay day from the Los Angeles Rams. This is not a move the Saints will often make with a skill position player, but Michael Thomas is the guy to break that mold on behalf of. We recounted some of what he has done since arriving in New Orleans over on the ASC Twitter page. Some highlights include most receptions over a players first three years and being the Saints’ first ever First-Team All-Pro, we didn’t even get to the most receptions over the first several games of a season stats. All of this despite being the sixth receiver drafted in the 2016 draft at 47th overall behind names like Laquan Treadwell and Corey Coleman.
Thomas deserves this payday and other WRs around the league are now salivating at the news. Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and somehow Tyreek Hill will all be up next to near, match, or exceed Thomas’ total. But for now, Thomas and his agent can enjoy the sunlight and the Who Dat Nation can enjoy having their guy back in black and gold for another five years.