The New Orleans Saints are retaining wide receiver Michael Thomas after the two sides were able to agree to a restructured one-year contract for the 2023 season, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson. Specifically, it's a $10 million deal for Thomas that has a max value of $15 million if he reaches his incentives, per ESPN.
This is a pretty dramatic swing of events, as it was assumed Thomas and the Saints would part ways this offseason. The two sides had until March 17 to get a new deal done or the team would likely be forced to cut him to avoid paying a monsterous $31.7 million roster bonus. However, it avoided that fate with this restructure, locking in the talented pass-catcher for at least next season.
The addition of Derek Carr does seem to be what put the wheels in motion for his return to New Orleans. Carr noted to reporters during his introductory press conference that Thomas actually recruited him to the Saints, and now it appears like the quarterback was able to lure him back to New Orleans himself.
"You talk to Mike Thomas, you feel like you two can go face the world," Carr. "I told my wife when I got off the phone and she just asked, 'Why are you smiling?' and I was like, 'I love this guy'; he's so competitive, and I think the energy that he brings, it's a very exciting time to throw him the football. So, when he started recruitment talking to me and all that, he wasn't even trying to recruit me. He was like, 'When are we getting to work? We are wasting time.' And I was like, 'I feel the same way but we'll get there.' I think our relationship has grown through this process, and I look forward to making it stronger."
When healthy, Thomas is one of the NFL's best wide receivers. That said, those healthy seasons have been few and far between over the past few years. The 30-year-old receiver has played in just 10 games over the past three seasons, including just three contests in 2022. In a Week 3 game against the Panthers last year, Thomas left the matchup with a foot injury and was eventually placed on season-ending injured reserve.
If he's able to get close to top form, however, the Saints will boast an intriguing collection of skill players that also includes second-year wideout Chris Olave. That should be plenty for Carr to work with as he gears himself up for Year 1 in New Orleans.