Michael Thomas holdout
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints star receiver Michael Thomas is a holdout as the team opens camp, and he’s absolutely making the right move.

The big picture: We recently broke down the reasons why Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was making a mistake with his holdout over a contract impasse. However, things couldn’t be more different for Thomas as he holds out for his own big pay day.

The nitty-gritty: Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports Thomas isn’t going to show up to camp until he gets his big extension.



  • The current situation: Thomas is set to earn just under $1.15 million in base salary in 2019 without a new deal, per Spotrac.com.
  • No reason to risk it: The risk of injury is ever present in NFL training camps, and that amount is paltry compared to what Thomas will make on a likely record-breaking extension.

Simply put, he has no reason to be at camp without a long-term guarantee.

Thomas is indispensable: Drew Brees has a talent for getting the most out of his receivers. Yet there is no replacing the production that Thomas provides on a weekly basis.

  • Record-breaking start: To open his career, Thomas has caught an absurd 321 passes. That catch total is an NFL record for a player in his first three seasons.
  • Jaw-dropping stat: Last season, Thompas caught 85% of the passes that came his way. Of the pass-catchers who were targeted at least 100 times last year, the next-best total was 74% by Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
  • Not just a ball hog: Thomas has gone for for 3,787 yards and 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons as well. His ability to make big-time catches in the end zone, along with going deep when the situation calls for it, makes him one of the best all-around offensive weapons in the NFL.
  • Weekly clinic: Every single week, Thomas proves why he’s one of the best NFL receivers as he utilizes flawless technique to put defenders out of position. Quite simply, he’s in a league of his own in terms of route-running and pure hands.

It’s all about the Benjamins, baby: The disparity between what Thomas is currently set to earn on his rookie deal and what he will earn on a new extension is stunning.

This means Thomas could lose out on tens of millions if he were to show up to camp and suffer a catastrophic injury.



The bottom line: From a pure business standpoint, Thomas would be doing himself a huge disservice by attending camp and putting himself in position to be injured on some freak play.

The team can fine him $40,000 for every day he misses, but in the end those fines will be washed away when the two sides hammer out a deal. Thomas has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by holding out this summer.