Michael Thomas is seeking to become the highest-paid wide receiver in football, and he has at least one supporter.
Thomas’ New Orleans Saints teammate Cameron Jordan went on NFL Network's “Good Morning Football” on Monday to stick up for the fellow Pro Bowler.
Having just landed a massive contract worth $42 million guaranteed two weeks ago, Jordan is intimately familiar with how the Saints negotiate and what their cap situation is going forward. And Jordan wants to make sure Thomas sticks around.
“Pay the man,” Jordan said. “Nobody's done what he's done in his first three years. Highest paid.”
Thomas has made the case to become the highest-paid receiver quite clear. He’s all over the record books for players through three years with the most receptions (321), fourth-most yardage (3,787) and highest catch percentage (77%).
Of course, Thomas has benefitted from playing with one of the league's best quarterbacks ever, but Drew Brees has never quite had a receiver like him before. Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston only eclipsed 1,100 receiving yards a combined five times in 15 seasons in New Orleans, while Thomas has done so in each of his three seasons. And he’s only getting better at 26.
Thomas may only have 23 career touchdowns, but he’s been among the most reliable players in the league. His 85% catch rate last season led all receivers by more than three percentage points, and he was third in first down receptions.
“Nobody is catching more receptions,” Jordan said. “Who has had more in their first three years? His catch rate speaks for itself.”
What is Thomas asking for in his next contract?
Contracts negotiations are a push-pull, but Thomas is shooting for the moon on his end.
The Saints are reportedly $4 million apart in negotiations, but it’s easy to see Thomas becoming the first $20 million receiver. To date, only 18 quarterbacks and three pass rushers have earned contracts worth that much.
Still, it’s worth noting that Thomas may want to move quickly in negotiations if he wants to be known as the highest paid player at his position. That’s a title that rarely lasts long because of an ever expanding salary cap. Furthermore, Pro Bowlers Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and A.J. Green are also looking for new deals that should be safely worth more than $15 million.
With just a few years left in Brees’ playing career, it’s hard to imagine the Saints letting his best weapon go over a few million dollars. Until he retires, they’re going to be all-in. When Thomas gets his next contract remains up in the air, but he surely appreciates the support along the way.
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