Thomas has signed with a new agent from the same agency, now working with Andrew Kessler of Athletes First, Josh Katzenstein of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Thomas has averaged 107 catches for 1,262 yards and 7.7 TDs in three pro seasons, and his status as a second-round pick means the Saints don't have the ability to exercise a fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The soon-to-be 26-year-old thus figures to sign a massive extension at some point this offseason, with a franchise tag looming in 2020 if no agreement comes into place. Thomas has a solid argument to match Odell Beckham, who signed a five-year, $90 million extension in August with $41 million fully guaranteed (per overthecap.com).
Thomas brought in four of seven targets for 36 yards during the Saints' 26-23 overtime loss to the Rams in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. In the regular-season meeting with the Rams, Thomas trampled Los Angeles to the tune of 12 receptions for 211 yards. It was a drastically different story Sunday, however, as the presence of Aquib Talib for the postseason matchup and what appeared to be a different defensive game plan overall completely changed the dynamic. Thomas did seem to have an excellent chance for a touchdown in the first half go by the wayside due to a bad pass by Drew Brees, but his performance was otherwise as pedestrian as his line would suggest. It was the most lackluster of conclusions to what was an otherwise spectacular 2018 campaign for Thomas, one that saw him set or equal new career highs across the board with a 125-1,405-9 line over 16 games, and post a record-setting 171-yard performance in a divisional-round win over the Eagles.
Thomas brought in 12 of 16 targets for a franchise-playoff-record 171 yards and a touchdown in the Saints' 20-14 divisional-round playoff win over the Eagles on Sunday. Thomas was as masterful in Sunday's postseason tilt as he was during a career-best regular campaign that he finished with an eye-popping 125-1,405-9 line. The third-year pro made key reception after key reception throughout the afternoon, helping the Saints climb out of an early 14-0 hole to forge a tenuous 20-14 lead late in the fourth quarter. The 25-year-old's two-yard touchdown late in the third period gave New Orleans the lead in the contest for the first time and capped off a game-turning 18-play, 92-yard drive. Thomas will undoubtedly play a similarly prominent role in next Sunday's NFC Championship Game versus a Rams team that runs a high-octane attack highly reminiscent of that of his own squad.
Thomas is active for Sunday's game against the Panthers but may not take on his usual snap load, John DeShazier of the Saints' official site reports. The Saints have already made quarterback Drew Brees and running back Alvin Kamara inactive for a mostly meaningless regular-season finale, and it's expected that other core skill-position players like Thomas and Mark Ingram will see only light action, if any. With New Orleans having already sewn up the NFC's No. 1 seed in the postseason, there's little upside to playing Thomas extensively and exposing him to injury in Week 17. Instead, fill-in signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater is expected to throw to a pass-catching group of lesser established options such as Tre'Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood, Austin Carr, Tommylee Lewis and Dan Arnold for much of the game.
Thomas corralled 11 of 13 targets, compiling 109 receiving yards and one touchdown during Sunday's 31-28 win against the Steelers. Prior to Sunday's breakout performance, Thomas hadn't been quite the downfield threat he was during the first half of the regular season -- failing to exceed 100 yards and averaging 64.5 YPG between Weeks 10 and 15, compared to three 100-yard outings and 110 YPG over the first eight games of the year. The 25-year-old Thomas snapped a four-game scoreless streak with his clutch, go-ahead 2-yard touchdown catch with 1:25 to go in regulation against Pittsburgh. Now that New Orleans has the NFC's No. 1 seed locked up, Thomas may rest against a Carolina defense that's allowed the fourth-most receiving yards (2,632) and the sixth-most touchdowns (19) to opposing WRs this season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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