The New Orleans Saints and star wide receiver Michael Thomas agreed to a record-setting contract extension of five years and $100 million on Wednesday.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the news and noted how Thomas becomes the first offensive player who isn’t a quarterback to ink a deal worth nine figures:
Thomas’ NFL career has gotten off to a prolific start since New Orleans drafted him in the second round (No. 47 overall) out of Ohio State in 2016. The 26-year-old has accrued 321 receptions, 3,787 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons. He holds the record for most catches through his first three years as a pro.
This move is absolutely vital to the Saints’ future and present. It brings to an end what had to be an agonizing training camp holdout for the fanbase and the organization.
For the 2019 campaign, New Orleans couldn’t afford to miss Thomas, who’s about the only viable receiver on the roster. Consider that last year, the next-closest Saints wideout to Thomas’ 125 receptions was Tre’Quan Smith at only 28 catches.
One can hardly blame Thomas for wanting a fresh contract entering the last year of his rookie deal, where he was slated to count only about $1.63 million against the cap, per Spotrac.
If New Orleans is meant to have any chance to advance back to the NFC Championship Game or beyond, it’s going to have a lot to do with Thomas continuing his historic brilliance.
The post-Drew Brees era is approaching fast, as the legendary quarterback will turn 41 in January. It’s assumed Teddy Bridgewater will be as his successor, and it won’t hurt to have a dynamic playmaker like Thomas to help him with the tall task of filling Brees’ shoes.
As great as Brees is, though, Thomas has had a huge hand in extending the veteran’s career — more than filling the void left by the franchise’s all-time leading receiver, Marques Colston.
This contract ensures the Brees-to-Thomas connection will be alive and well for at least one more year, which means the Saints can’t be counted out as Super Bowl contenders.