New Orleans Saints: Post-Drew Brees era will determine Michael Thomas’ contract value
The New Orleans Saints are going to be paying wide receiver Michael Thomas record-breaking money over the next five years.
It’s difficult to gauge a receiver’s true skill set and talent level when he’s on the field with Hall of Fame-level quarterback. While Michael Thomas is still worth the money, his true value will be shown in the post-Drew Brees era of New Orleans Saints football.
It’ll be similar to how Odell Beckham Jr. plays this season. While many trash Eli Manning and how he’s declined the past few seasons, the fact of the matter is that he’s still throwing for 4,000-plus yards, awarding Odell a 1,000-yard season every year he’s played double-digit games.
With Baker Mayfield, Odell will have quarterback that may not throw for over 3,800 yards. At the same time, in his second season, Baker could explode as well. That said, the point is that Thomas’ true value may not be known till after he’s done playing with an all-time great quarterback.
It’s also somewhat similar to the situation Larry Fitzgerald was in.
Widely acclaimed as one of the best receivers to ever play the game, Fitz, when he’s with a quarterback not named Kevin Kolb or Josh Rosen, puts up 1,000-yard seasons on the regular and is a highly impactful part of the offense.
However, this past season, when his quarterback was a rookie and couldn’t deliver the perfect passes, he failed to make an impact, securing under 800 yards. While his targets were also down because the Cardinals league-worst offense, some of the responsibility fell on the superstar receiver.
Thomas, when Drew Brees reaches 43, will be 29. If Teddy Bridgewater, a rookie with little experience, JT Barrett or some other free agent is leading the charge, will the Saints look back and wish they hadn’t paid Thomas $20 million a year or will he produce enough for it not to matter?
If his quarterback is only throwing for 3,000 yards, will Thomas still find a way to be a top-five receiver in the league. That’s the question that must answered as we’ve officially entered the time when Drew Brees’ years are numbered.