The New Orleans Saints did the right thing on Wednesday morning by giving Michael Thomas $100 million over the next five years.
Don’t believe me? Look at his stats through three seasons. No other wide receiver in the Saints 52-year history has even come close to what he’s done on the field in just three years. In fact, not many wideouts have achieved what he’s done in the time that the former Ohio State Buckeye has been in the league. Last season was his coming out party and a lot of that had to do with the four-game suspension of Mark Ingram causing the mentality of the team to be more pass-happy in order to keep defenses on their toes with one of their better weapons in Alvin Kamara being deadly in the backfield as a screen option.
Thomas’ 125 catches for a little more than 1,400 yards was a definite highlight of the season and it seems like the bar will continue rise and a lot of that has to do with how he takes care of himself off the field. People wonder how the one-handed catches occur so easily for the elite wide receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and one of the key cogs is hand yoga. That phrase seems a little unusual at first glance, but with the rate Thomas catches passes it makes sense. Back at Ohio State, he only dropped five passes in his last two seasons as a Buckeye and has made the most of his opportunity as a 47th overall pick.
People will constantly say that Drew Brees has made wide receivers and tight ends look way better than they actually are (see: Graham, Jimmy), but there’s a distinct difference because he looks like he could keep the franchise at least somewhat relevant in life after Drew Brees. Only six career drops really show us how good he can be, especially when you see how much he’s been in double coverage
Has Thomas set a dangerous precedent for the future of the league? Of course, but if it wasn’t Thomas it likely would have happened with an OBJ, Antonio Brown or any other non-QB that believes he is worth that much money. With that said, Thomas now has to back up each and every dollar of that extravagant deal on the field because we’ve seen what happens when star players finally get that big payday and it’s not pretty.