Undoubtedly the biggest story in Louisiana is Michael Thomas no-showing training camp on Thursday. The reason why makes sense, especially when you look around the league.
In the case of Michael Thomas, it’s been heavily reported that the former Ohio State Buckeye is wanting a $20 million a year contract while the Saints are more in the $18-$19 million range. While things don’t necessarily look great on the surface, there is a sense that this deal will get done.
“I think it’s something that hopefully will be resolved soon. It was more common I think back when some of these picks weren’t slotted, more common with rookie players.” head coach Sean Payton said on Thursday, “I think his agent, Mickey (Loomis), those guys are working on it. I’m optimistic that it’ll be done fairly soon.”
The New Orleans Saints released a statement late on Thursday night saying that the contract negotiations between the Saints and Thomas aren’t contentious as they prepare for the first day of training camp. It may seem like a bad look for the franchise to not sign their star wideout, no one is disappointed in him for his reasoning why.
“I’m not disappointed in him.” General Manager Mickey Loomis said, “He has the right to negotiate, accept or decline and negotiate how he sees fit. I don’t like the fact that he has a contract and he’s not here, but look, I’m not mad about it. That’s just the way it is. It happens in our league.”
One possible reason why Thomas is waiting this out is because of reports that the Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones could receive his extension before Friday comes to a close. With reports of him receiving around $20 million a year, the Saints star wide receiver will want to be paid more than what his counterpart in Atlanta will be receiving. That being said, each day that he skips out on training camp will cost him a cool $40,000 so the clock may already be ticking for Thomas to sign on that dotted line for a long-term deal with the franchise to prepare them for a life without Drew Brees.
Important Camp for Cam Meredith
One of the more interesting free agent signings for the Saints last season was Cam Meredith. The former Chicago Bear dealt with a lot of nagging knee injuries last season and that limited him to nine receptions in six games. The best thing for him is that he passed his conditioning tests, meaning he will be ready when camp gets jumpstarted on Friday.
This will be an important camp for him. I am sure he’s excited. The key is, is getting the work in that he’s going to have an opportunity to compete and then there’s that balance of being smart.” Payton said, “There’s a handful of players that are coming into training camp full and yet we have to be smart as we bring them back to that workload.”
Equal Time for McCoy and Easton
After Max Unger announced his retirement, the big question was who was going to fill the shoes of one of the key cogs for the Saints offensive line. That might be the only battle that many fans will be keeping an eye on as training camp progresses and both players will get equal time according to Sean Payton.
“Both those guys are going to receive a lot of work there. Obviously Nick has played that position. He has also played guard. There will be plenty of reps for those players, for us to receive a good evaluation on the veteran player and the young player. Look, it is always difficult replacing a talented player and someone like Max (Unger) who is also a real good leader. But I think we have two guys that have played that position pretty well.”