The New Orleans Saints have Super Bowl hopes, and a big problem as camp starts.
Michael Thomas, by far the team’s best receiver, did not report to camp with the rest of the team on Thursday. The Saints don’t practice until Friday, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Thomas will “stay away” until he gets the new contract extension he seeks.
Thomas had 125 receptions and 1,405 yards last season and wants to get a historic contract.
Michael Thomas wants $20 million per year
Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported on the contract talks on Monday. It seemed like the negotiations were progressing.
On the Michael Thomas contract talks: Sources say the #Saints have offered a deal averaging between $18-$19 million a year. Thomas would like to be the first $20 million wideout in the #NFL. A $20 mil per year average w/ the right structure/guarantees would likely get it done.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) July 23, 2019
By holding out, Thomas is putting the Saints in an uncomfortable spot. New Orleans can’t replace their No. 1 receiver. They also aren’t swimming in cap space. But perhaps a short holdout will lead to action by both sides.
Thomas is one of NFL’s best
Thomas has had an incredible first three seasons for the Saints. He has 321 catches, 3,787 yards and 23 touchdowns. Last season Thomas led the NFL with 125 receptions. He is Drew Brees’ favorite target, and it’s not close.
The Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL and Thomas is a big part of that. They don’t have much choice but to pay Thomas. The challenge will be finding a common ground that both sides can live with. Until then, the Saints might be preparing for the season without one of their stars.
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