If the New Orleans Saints are willing to trade Michael Thomas, these teams should be preparing an offer.
A year after setting the single-season NFL record for receptions (149) and leading the league with 1,725 receiving yards, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas has had a rough start to 2020.
Thomas suffered an ankle injury in Week 1, then any idea he’d return in Week 5 was gone after he punched a teammate in practice. Now he’s got another injury, as a hamstring issue will sideline him for Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers.
Without the formal label, the Saints essentially suspended Thomas for Week 5 by fining him a game check and rendering him inactive. He’s clearly not in great standing with the team, which makes it worth wondering if he could be playing on Sunday and is being held out — either by the team’s motivation for a little more informal discipline or his own dissatisfaction.
On the surface, it’s unlikely the Saints are actively shopping Thomas. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk added to his report of belief they may be willing to move him, the Saints would take a $20 million cap charge for 2021 by trading Thomas. But add in getting out of his $12.6 million salary for next year, and the net cap cost becomes $7.4 million.
For what it’s worth, Saints head coach Sean Payton has directly responded to the Thomas trade rumors on Twitter: “Insiders on the Outside where they belong.”
Part of Payton’s job is to diffuse situations, and a line along the lines of “we don’t trade good players” is sure to come out of the Saints at some point soon. But with coach and GM speak comes harsh realities, as well as having to turn down trade offers if they come.
With nothing to lose and a star wide receiver to gain (assuming he’s healthy from here on out this year) these three teams should make a trade offer for Michael Thomas.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles’ group of pass-catchers resembles an infirmary again this year. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is nearing a return from a foot injury, but DeSean Jackson missed three games with a hamstring injury and now might be out for the season with a fractured ankle. Tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle) is out until Week 10, and tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) is likely out until at least Week 11.
The Eagles are well over the projected salary cap for 2021. But with just under $21.5 million in space this year, they have plenty of room to take on Thomas before having to worry about it in the offseason. Maybe, just maybe, the Saints would take something like Jeffery and multiple draft picks in a deal.
For better or worse, Eagles GM Howie Roseman has never been afraid to make trades. Landing a big fish like Thomas would be quite a move.