Sean Payton expounds on how he feels about these Michael Thomas trade rumors.
The New Orleans Saints are in a three-team battle for NFC South supremacy, along with the Carolina Panthers, who they play at home on Sunday, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their star wide receiver Thomas has missed the team’s last four games due to injury, as well as an on-field altercation in practice with a teammate. Simply put, Payton isn’t down with trading Thomas.
How moveable of a contract is Michael Thomas’ current deal anyway?
Thomas has a grand total of three catches for 17 yards in one game this fall. He signed a five-year deal worth $96.25 million that went into effect this season. Though there is a potential out after 2022, Thomas does not hit unrestricted free agency until 2025 at 32-years-old. When healthy, he’s one of the best receivers in the NFL, so why would the Saints get rid of a big-time player?
The Saints have to understand that this is very likely the last year of quarterback Drew Brees‘ illustrious career. They will end up starting someone else under center in 2021. Whether that is Jameis Winston or Payton’s favorite player of all time in Taysom Hill remains to be seen. While Thomas may net the Saints a handful of draft picks, it seems like a counterproductive move.
Simply put, if the Saints are going to win Super Bowl 55 down in Tampa, Florida and allow Brees to ride off into the sunset John Elway and Peyton Manning-style, they are going to need Thomas to have a stellar second half and dominate as a possession receiver in the postseason. Why would the Saints want to limit their offense’s overall viability in Brees’ final NFL season?
Though Payton may not have final say in any deal the Saints front office makes, New Orleans will not trade one of its best offensive players without consulting its offensive-minded head coach. While calling football insiders outsiders on Twitter is a bit petty for a Super Bowl-winning coach, Payton has built a reputation on being inherently petty. His response comes as no surprise at all.
If the Saints do end up dealing Thomas in 2020, it may be strictly from a locker room standpoint.