After extended contract negotiations kept the Saints' number one wide receiver Michael Thomas from participating in the start of training camp, Thomas and the Saints' front office finally reached an agreement earlier this week. The all-pro receiver, appropriately nicknamed "Can't Guard Mike," enters the 2019 season as the highest paid receiver in the NFL. This distinguished title was previously held by the Browns' polarizing receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The 26-year-old Thomas signed a 5 year 100 million dollar contract extension that includes a 61 million dollar guarantee.
That type of money is reserved for the best, most electrifying players in the league. And no one is more deserving of it than Michael Thomas. During the 2018 season, Thomas racked up the most receptions in the league with 125, had a total of 1,405 receiving yards, hauled in nine receiving touchdowns, and averaged 11.2 yards per reception. On top of all that, Thomas led the league with 20 first down receptions when the game was within one score. Indeed, his stats are impressive, but perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Thomas's skillset is the sheer amount of impact he has on the outcome of a game. In 2018, there were many games where it felt as though Thomas was the entirety of the Saints' offense. Even when he isn't catching every ball Drew Brees throws, the amount of attention he draws from an opposing team's defense gives other receivers the opportunity to be productive.
This massive contract extension wasn't just acceptable, it was necessary. With Michael Thomas, the Saints are Superbowl contenders with one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL; without him, they may not even be a playoff team. Often times, contracts like this can cripple the competitive potential of an organization. However, with a player like Michael Thomas, the Saints have enshrined themselves as one of the most exciting teams in the NFL for the foreseeable future.
Want to witness the Saints dominate their 2019 opponents? Click here to view their schedule and buy season tickets.
Photo by: Mike Trummel