Saints, WR Michael Thomas agree to record-breaking contract extension
The New Orleans Saints have relied heavily on receiver Michael Thomas the past few years, and Thomas knew he had leverage.
Thomas’ training camp holdout didn’t last long. He got the extension he wanted. And it was a huge one.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday morning that Thomas and the Saints had agreed on a five-year $100 million extension with $61 million guaranteed. That’s the most guaranteed money for any non-quarterback offensive player in NFL history, Schefter said.
With that, Drew Brees’ top target will be back with the Saints. Thomas’ extension goes through the 2024 season.
Michael Thomas led NFL in receptions
Thomas and Brees had an instant connection. The 2016 second-round pick out of Ohio State had 92 catches and 1,137 yards as a rookie. His receptions and yards increased in each of the past two seasons, too.
Last season Thomas and Alvin Kamara were the focal points of the Saints’ offense. Thomas led the NFL with 125 catches. He has become a workhorse at receiver for New Orleans.
The Saints have Super Bowl dreams this season, but weren’t going anywhere without Thomas. Both sides knew that, and that’s why a new deal was inevitable, even at a record price.
Thomas’ deal resets market for receivers
Thomas’ deal, at $20 million per season with all that guaranteed money, sets a new bar for other receivers.
The two most notable receivers looking for a new payday are Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons and Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys. Jones is a future Hall of Famer who has been surprisingly calm this offseason as he waits on the Falcons to fulfill a promise for a new contract. Cooper isn’t quite in Jones’ class, but he’s very good, young and the Cowboys gave up a first-round pick last season to acquire him in a trade. He’s going to get paid too.
The agents for those receivers, and a few other stars around the league, have a new benchmark to work with. Thomas’ deal was historic, and will change how star receivers get paid.
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