There’s no sugarcoating this: the New Orleans Saints are going to miss Michael Thomas. Like every other receiver on the depth chart, he had a clear and defined role, and him missing time with a high-ankle injury will be a challenge for all involved. While more targets are going around, this isn’t exactly an opportunity for less-talented teammates to step up into new responsibilities.
Fortunately, the Saints have eight receivers under contract as it is, including veterans on the practice squad like Bennie Fowler, Austin Carr, and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. It’s not exactly an inexperienced group. Now, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t consider all options.
And one option to keep in mind is Dez Bryant. The longtime Dallas Cowboys star hasn’t played a down since 2017, having gone down with a torn Achilles in his first practice with the Saints in 2018. But he’s diligently worked his way back into the NFL’s orbit, earning a tryout with the Baltimore Ravens back in August. Baltimore didn’t sign him to a deal, but it’s not impossible to think the Saints might give Bryant a call.
Still, it feels more realistic for the Saints to keep the ship steady by spreading targets around to players already on the roster; expect big-time free agent acquisition Emmanuel Sanders to draw more looks in Week 2, facing off against a familiar opponent (he’s played the Las Vegas Raiders 13 times in his career, averaging 53.2 yards per game). The Saints defense must also continue to play well after doing so much heavy lifting in the season-opener.
So the Saints are equipped for life without Thomas, at least for a few weeks. But it shouldn’t shock anyone if Saints coach Sean Payton is willing to give Bryant another shot, even if he was lukewarm on the prospect the last time it came up.
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