The New Orleans Saints have had a difficult start to the week ahead of their first preseason game. Among the drama weighing heaviest on the organization is the ongoing saga with star wide receiver Michael Thomas.
The franchise and the two-time All-Pro have been at odds over Thomas’s offseason ankle surgery, which he waited to have done until June instead of right after the 2020 season, like the Saints expected. The relationship between the organization and the 28-year-old wide receiver seems to be tense at best, leaving his longterm future in New Orleans unclear.
Trade rumors have already been floated for Thomas, as some have begun to wonder if the he’s overstayed his welcome with the Saints. However, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport shared in detail why it will be difficult for New Orleans to part ways with their top wideout.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the relationship between Michael Thomas and Saints head coach Sean Payton and the organization is not really in a good place. Not that it’s never going to be fixed, but it is not in a great place right now,” Rapoport explained on NFL Total Access on Tuesday. “The fact that Michael Thomas had surgery in June is not anything that made anyone happy. The team thought and believed that he was going to have surgery right after the season and be fine for the start of training camp. For a variety of reasons, that did not happen. The fact that he seemed to not be up front with the organization throughout, means that none of this is good.
“So then the question of course is are they going to move forward with him or are they going to trade him. I would say that a trade is not off the table at some point. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints moved on from Michael Thomas eventually, but it is complicated. Here’s why: he’s not healthy right now. He’s still recovering from that foot surgery and is probably going to start the season on the PUP list, so you’re not going to be able to trade him until the trade deadline. And then it’s $8 million in dead money this year and $22 million in dead money next year. Not impossible, but not easy.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 10, 2021
Rapoport’s explanation shows that the Saints would take a major hit if they tried to trade away Thomas right now. Considering he’s still recovering from his injury, New Orleans would be wise to wait and survey the market before fielding any offers for the star wide receiver.