The New Orleans Saints have been the subject of trade rumors before the deadline, with All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas potentially on his way out. Amid a disastrous season for Thomas, don’t expect him to land elsewhere on Nov. 3.
Saints rumors: Michael Thomas won’t be traded
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Saints aren’t making Thomas available to other NFL teams this season. Instead, New Orleans hopes he can return in Week 9 following a lengthy absence due to injuries and an off-field incident.
Thomas, who broke the NFL’s single-season reception record in 2019 (149), hasn’t played since Week 1. He suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, causing him to miss three games.
On the verge of returning in Week 5, New Orleans suspended its No. 1 receiver after he punched a teammate the day before a game. While the violent act was the final straw before discipline, Thomas had reportedly caused problems for the coaching staff all summer and became difficult for the organization to manage.
Finally, after their Week 6 bye, the Saints hoped Thomas would be fully healthy and ready to play in Week 7. Instead, he suffered a hamstring injury and has now missed the team’s last two games.
It’s understandable why the Saints would be frustrated with Thomas. He has played in just one game, in which he hauled in just three receptions for 17 yards. Frankly, he’s been a bigger negative this year with just as many first downs (one) as punches thrown.
Even if the Saints wanted to trade Thomas, their financial situation makes it an even bigger loss.
The NFL salary cap is expected to plummet in 2021 and the Saints are projected to be $87 million over the cap. Trading Thomas this year would result in a $20 million cap charge next season.
Ultimately, for a win-now team, keeping Thomas is the only logical move. He might cause more headaches along the way, but his impact when healthy is undeniable. Given how poorly the Saints have looked defensively, they can’t afford to trade offensive weapons.