His Twitter handle is @Cantguardmike, and most defensive backs can't guard Michael Thomas - at least through the first three years of his career. We don't expect him to slow down in Year 4, and Thomas is worth drafting toward the end of Round 1 or beginning of Round 2 in all leagues. He led the NFL in receptions in 2018 with 125, and was No. 11 in targets (147), No. 6 in receiving yards (1,405) and tied for 10th in receiving touchdowns (nine). He's yet to score double digits in touchdowns in his career, but being the No. 1 receiver for Drew Brees in Sean Payton's offense has been exceptional for Thomas' Fantasy value. You should expect another strong campaign from Thomas in 2019, assuming his holdout doesn't linger - and we don't think it will.
Thomas agreed to terms Wednesday with the Saints on a five-year contract extension worth up to $100 million, league sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN. Thomas didn't report for the start of training camp last week while seeking a new deal and didn't have to wait long to receive a long-term contract that keeps him in New Orleans through 2024. The 2018 first-team All-Pro will earn $1.15 million in the final year of his rookie deal before the extension goes into effect in 2020. At that time, he'll become the NFL's highest-paid wideout, with his lavish deal including $19.25 million annually and $61 million guaranteed. Thomas' extension could set the market for other high-end receivers seeking new deals before the upcoming season, with Atlanta's Julio Jones being the most notable of that group.
Thomas isn't reporting for the start of training camp, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports. Entering the fourth and final season of his rookie contract, Thomas reportedly is seeking a pact that will put him first among all wide receivers in average annual value. A report from June suggested the two sides were far apart on compensation, with the 26-year-old seeking $22 million per season and the Saints thinking more along the lines of $18 million.
Thomas and the Saints are still far apart in extension negotiations, Jeff Duncan of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Thomas reportedly wants $22 million per season, while the Saints are angling for around $18 million, which would put him close to Odell Beckham Jr. and a little ahead of Antonio Brown. The 25-year-old wideout currently is traveling in Europe, and he hasn't made any noise about a potential holdout as he prepares for the final season of his rookie contract. It may be hard to settle on a price when both sides know that A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Amari Cooper also are in the process of discussing extensions with their respective teams. Dianna Russini of ESPN reports that the Saints are comfortable making Thomas the highest paid wide receiver in the league, but that doesn't mean they'll go up to $22 million.
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.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/15||@Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|
|5||10/06||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||25.00|
|11||11/17||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||25.00|
|14||12/08||San Francisco 49ers||30||26.13|
|3 Year Avg||139||107||1262||8||69||11.79||172|