Saturday’s NFL news cycle started with a bombshell report from Mike Florio and Pro Football Talk that suggested that the New Orleans Saints are fielding offers and actively looking to move star wide receiver, Michael Thomas.
After all of the success that Thomas has had with the New Orlean Saints organization, including 2019 that had him in legitimate MVP talks and helped earn him a 96 million dollar contract this offseason, and all of the struggles that the Saints have had without him on the field, the fact that the Saints are actually looking to trade him comes as a surprise.
Sure, there was an incident a few weeks back where Thomas reportedly punched a teammate during practice. However, the Saints had already served out their punishment for that incident, with a fine and a healthy scratch for their Monday night matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers.
We do not know everything that goes on behind the closed doors of coaches and executive meetings, so maybe there is much more straining the relationship than the public knows. Maybe this reported incident is not the only moment of character concerns, maybe something was said in a closed-door meeting that made it clear that Thomas lacks confidence in the organization or Brees, or maybe that one instance was enough for the Saints to trade away the second-best player on the roster.
If the reports are true and the Saints are going to move the Saints before the trade deadline, who are the most likely candidates to bring Thomas in? Between the value that the Saints are going to want in return, the size of Thomas’ contract, and of course, basic team needs, there are plenty of factors to account for. So we broke down the most likely landing spots for Michael Thomas.
3: New England Patriots
The Patriots are a sneaky great team that is just a few key pieces away from securing a playoff spot. Wide receiver is the most obvious area of need on the team, with it being the main narrative surrounding the team last season. N’keal Harry is not progressing, and Julian Edelman can only do so much for the team, especially with his dropped passes numbers.
Bringing in Michael Thomas offers Cam Newton a huge weapon that helps bring pressure off of Edelman and opens up the playbook a bit more. The Belichick offense is based on screens, running, and quick passes/slants, which conveniently is Thomas’ specialty.
There is a major holdup in this trade, and that is that Belichick is very unlikely to accept a contract of this size. The Saints are unlikely to shoulder a large part of the contract in a trade as well, thus why this trade is so high on the list.
2: Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks have been hunting a star wide receiver for three seasons now, and after losing out on Antonio Brown signing his season, this may be their best shot at ending that search.
I will be the first to admit that I do not think that Thomas matches Seattle’s offensive style, but I could easily be wrong due largely to my familiarity with him coming only from his time in New Orleans. He does not have to run many scramble routes, due largely to Brees not scrambling, so maybe he has that skill in his toolkit and just has not had to use it.
There will be some cap concerns with bringing in this contract (especially if the cap drops significantly next season) but that can easily be maneuvered and adjusted to hit the myth that is cap space.
1: Green Bay Packers
This one is obvious.
The Packers do not necessarily need wide receivers as long as Aaron Rodgers keeps tossing the ball like he has this season. He is making De’vante Adams look like Terrell Owens, and the Wal-Mart employee that make up the rest of the receiving core are successful due almost exclusively to Rodgers.
However, it was that lack of depth and talent in the receiving group that ended up being the end of the Packers’ playoff run last season. If your only reliable target is Adams, just double team Adams and make the other receivers make a play, and they failed to do that.
The hope and assumption across the league were the Packers would use their first-round draft pick this offseason to bring in a young receiver, so imagine the shock of the entire NFL when the Packers traded up to draft Jordan Love, a quarterback. This obviously upset the fans, who wanted to see the organization bring in a receiver that could help lift them to the big game this season; however, above anything else, it upset Rodgers. Rodgers was vocal about his feelings towards the decision, but rather than stay upset and be unprofessional about it, he took that frustration out on any team that made the mistake of lining up across from him.
Thomas would not only give the Packers a huge boost in terms of productivity, but it would also do something that the Packers have not been able to do for quite a few seasons: make Rodgers happy.
The Packers could easily give up a first-round pick and spare a few years paying Thomas if it means being significantly closer to the Lombardi.