The New Orleans Saints were banking on a bounce-back season for Michael Thomas in 2021, especially given the uncertainty at quarterback. Turns out, Thomas' ankle problems are still lingering entering the season.
Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Thomas underwent surgery to repair the ligaments in his ankle in June which will cause him to miss the start of the 2021 season. Thomas needs four months to recover, so he's projected to miss multiple weeks of the year.
Thomas' ankle issues still linger after suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 1 of his 2020 season. He missed six weeks before returning, also suffering a quad injury and serving a one-game suspension. When Thomas returned, he caught 37 passes for 421 yards before being placed on injured reserve due to the ankle injury. Thomas returned in time for the playoffs, but was held without a catch in 44 snaps in a NFC divisional round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Thomas broke the NFL receptions record with 149 receptions in 2019, finishing with 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. 2020 was a different story as Thomas failed to record a touchdown in the regular season, finishing with 40 catches for 428 yards.
Tre'Quan Smith is the leading candidate for the Saints' No. 1 wide receiver spot with Thomas out, but Thomas had 69 more receptions and 616 more receiving yards in 2019 than Smith has had in his entire career. Depth at receiver is certainly an issue in New Orleans as Smith, Marquez Callaway, and Deonte Harris are the top options at wideout.