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Should The Saints Move On from Their Star Receiver?

In 2019, Saints Wide Receiver Michael Thomas had one of the best offensive seasons at the position not only for the team, but for the whole league. Now he has seemingly fallen off the face of the Earth with injuries.

Thomas Leaving The Saints Out To Dry

Michael Thomas has been placed on IR with a toe injury and will miss the rest of the season in 2022.

He was arguably the best wide receiver in the league after his historic season, after that he has been nonexistent. In the last 40 games the team has played, Thomas has been available for only 10 of them.

Michael Thomas' last four years: 2019: Sets NFL record with 149 catches for 1,725 yards, 9 TD 2020: 7 games played, 40 catches, 438 yards 2021: Misses entire year 2022: 3 games played, 16 catches, 171 yards, 3 TD Just brutal injury luck. — Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 3, 2022

The Saints’ offense has struggled without Thomas. However, this year they have been adjusting very well to life without him. I mean, they’ve had two years of experience.

What Options Do The Saints Have With Thomas?

Thomas is set to become a free agent after the 2024 season. Here are the yearly cap hits for the rest of the contract:

  1. 2022: $13.1 Million

  2. 2023: $28.263 Million

  3. 2024: $27.513 Million

  4. 2025: $5.826 Million

Still being one of the highest-paid receivers in the league, Thomas is making a huge dent in the team’s cap and he doesn’t even play. If The Saints want to move on from Thomas and his absurd contract, they have a few options.

Option 1: Trade

When Thomas has played, he has proven he is still a playmaker. With that being said, he doesn’t play. Even if he can be a top receiver in the game when he’s healthy, it is a huge risk to trade for him. I don’t think it is very likely that we see Thomas traded to another team.

Option 2: Release

If someone told me that the Saints would be in a position to cut Thomas 3 years after his record-breaking season, I would call you insane, but now it is something New Orleans is facing.

No Easy Way Out For The Saints

If the team wants to trade or release Thomas, there will be a hefty price to pay.

If the team is to trade or release him before June 1st, they will take on a dead money hit of over $37 million. However if they wait to do so after June 1st, they will “only” be hit with a $11.813 dead money hit in 2022, and $25.452 in 2023. They would save around $1 in cap space. So Should the Saints just tough it out and hope he plays?

With these numbers, trading would likely be the best option to at least get some kind of return on investment, but still, who is going to trade for someone who doesn’t play?

Overall, the Saints are witnessing injuries destroy not only their team but the career of a player who was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, and there is nothing they can do about it. This leaves them in a difficult situation that essentially has no solution.

If there is one thing to take away from this; The Chris Olave pick looks better and better every day.


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