Article by: Kevin Eagleson
The headlines this NFL offseason have been all about superstars holding out for new contracts. On August 31st, the first holdout was resolved as New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas received the new deal he was looking for. After holding out for nearly a week of training camp, the Saints extended Thomas to a five-year deal worth up to $100 million (with $61 million guaranteed). This new deal makes Thomas the highest paid receiver in NFL history, and he is worth every penny to the Saints.
It's no secret the window is closing for forty-year-old quarterback Drew Brees to win his second Super Bowl. Brees is currently surrounded by one of the best rosters he has every played with, and the team has made back-to-back playoff runs over the past two seasons. After seeming to be just one play away from advancing, the team was devastated by the Minneapolis Miracle in 2018 and then a horrific no-call by the referees last season. New Orleans has a chance to make this season different and perhaps even reach the Super Bowl, but this would not be possible without Michael Thomas.
Thomas is a physical 6'3 receiver who boasts some of the best hands in the league. Since entering the league in 2016, he has been nothing short of unstoppable, setting the NFL record for most receptions in a player's first three seasons. Drew Brees' favorite target has been an absolute problem for opposing defenses and has even been dubbed the name "can't guard Mike". Mike is coming off his best season yet, where he was named a first-team All-Pro and racked up 1,405 receiving yards off 125 receptions. Thomas is by far the most talented receiver on the Saints roster, and besides him there are no other proven wide outs for Brees to throw too.
New Orleans had almost no option but to pay their star receiver in order to compete this season. The contract could be considered a win-win for both sides as Thomas got paid, and the Saints locked up their record-setting star. Mike is still only 25 years-old and his five-year contract almost guarantees Drew Brees will have Thomas to throw to for the rest of his career. The Saints will be a major threat in the NFC this year, and their number one receiver is a big reason why.