Could Saints WR Michael Thomas be traded?
By: Eric Sojash
In a rollercoaster of an NFL offseason that started less than two weeks ago, we have seen multiple marquee Quarterbacks with recently signed contracts changing uniforms and we may have a few more marquee players following suit. The New Orleans Saints currently sit dead last in projected cap space heading into the 2021 season and Hall of Fame Quarterback Drew Brees is poised for retirement, so to suggest changes are on the horizon would be an understatement.
Moving forward in the post Drew Brees era is going to be something to watch as the Saints and coach Sean Payton look to find a new face to lead the franchise. There’s reason to believe the Saints are headed for a rebuild and will look to acquire future assets. If the rumors are true, trading away All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas could transpire sooner than later.
After putting NFL teams on notice in 2019 as the highest-graded wide receiver who led the league in receptions and yards (149 REC 1,725 YDS 9TD), things came crashing down for Thomas in 2020. After suffering an ankle injury in the season opener, Thomas only appeared in seven games this season recording career lows across the board (40 REC 493 YDS 0TDs). In addition to missing time due to injury, Thomas was also suspended by the team for one game back in October for his role in an altercation with a teammate. While this year was likely just an anomaly, the Saints could shop the All-Pro to see what type of compensation they can get in return, if they do here are three teams that should consider making an offer for Mr. Thomas.
- Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are a team that chose to address the defensive side of the ball during the offseason in 2020 and the defense blossomed. The Dolphins were big spenders landing cornerback Byron Jones and linebacker Kyle Van Noy, thus transforming what was the worst defense in the NFL giving up a whopping 30.9 PPG in 2019 to a top-six defense giving up 21.1 PPG in 2020.
Coach Brian Flores showed the quickest way to turn this team around was by bringing in proven talent and he made some large investments on the defensive side of the ball that paid off. Now shifting his attention to the offense should be priority number one this offseason.
Miami’s receiving core lead by DeVante Parker has shown flashes but has not been consistent enough. With a young core in place, adding a proven talent like Michael Thomas can take them to the next level. The dolphins have enough draft capital to make an offer the Saints cannot refuse.
- Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are fresh off making a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Carson Wentz and I for one think they should keep looking to add to this ”˜win-now roster’. The move for Wentz comes after a relatively successful season that saw 39-year-old Philip Rivers lead this franchise to an 11-5 record narrowly falling a field goal short of upsetting the Buffalo Bills in their AFC wild-card playoff game.
With nine-year veteran, T.Y. Hilton set to become a free agent and coming off another down season in which he was plagued with injuries, the Colts are unlikely to bring him back leaving the door open for an elite pass catcher.
While recent trades would suggest the Colts are not big spenders, if the price is right, they should take a long and hard look at upgrading at wide receiver and trading for Michael Thomas. The offense is coming off a solid season in which they ranked 9th in PPG 28.2 and 10th in YDS/G 378.1. With star rookie running back Johnathan Taylor proving to be very capable (1,468 Total YDS and 12 TDs) and fellow rookie wide receiver Michael Pittman coming on strong late in the season, this team is one elite playmaker away from being in Superbowl contention.
- New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are the team I find the most fascinating heading into the 2021 offseason. They are projected to have the third-highest cap space with a reported $62M plus at their disposal and with a plethora of unknowns in key positions, this team will have a lot of holes to patch.
The Patriots dynasty is no more but one thing the organization can hang its hat on is coach Bill Belichick will be back at the helm with his trusty right-hand man, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Together they have had immense success culminating in six Superbowl victories and countless playoff runs. Personally, I do not expect a team led by these two individuals to falter for long, do not be surprised if the Pats are overly aggressive and swift at rebuilding the home that TB12 left behind.
We have seen big-name wide receivers coming off unproductive seasons work out in New England before when Hall of Famer Randy Moss joined the team back in 2007 and took his game to another level. While Michael Thomas is by no means the next Moss, he is a top 5 wide receiver in the NFL and the New England Patriots know how to use a player of that caliber.