Editor’s Note — This article was written before the Saints restructured Michael Thomas’ contract. A trade is unlikely now.
NFL’s Ian Rapoport reported in mid-February that the Saints have no plans of trading Thomas, and so far nothing seems to have changed the organization’s sentiments.
Still, a top-tier receiver like Michael Thomas naturally sits at the center of speculated blockbuster trades, so here’s another far-fetched proposition to entertain.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine listed every NFL team’s ideal offseason scenario, and for the Saints that involved trading away their top wide receiver to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"Michael Thomas represents a potential high-risk, high-reward acquisition. The Jaguars are in a position where the risk is worth it. They have the third-most cap space in the league, a new coaching staff that will look for immediate improvement and a long way to go in catching up to the Titans and Colts in the AFC South."
Saints’ Michael Thomas traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars? Don’t count on it.
We could spend all day imagining how well Trevor Lawrence would pair with Michael Thomas in Jacksonville, but we just don’t see it happening. It’s an ideal scenario for Jacksonville, no doubt, but it’s one of the worst possible deals for NOLA.
Following Sean Payton’s hiatus and with no solid solution at quarterback, the Saints can’t afford to lose any high-profile names. To trade Michael Thomas would be to signal to the league that the Saints have decided to rebuild the roster and are taking themselves out of playoff contention in 2022.
These are not such desperate times, and the team doesn’t need to take such desperate measures.
NOLA is projected to be around $62 million over the cap in 2022, but the front office has overcome such challenges before (they were $101 million over last year) and NFL writers have shown how plausible it is for the Saints to get under the cap this season without trading their star receiver.
Many seasons removed from his 2019 Offensive Player of the Year performance, Thomas still has three years left on his contract — three years to prove to the Saints he can still shine as the team’s leading wideout.
New Orleans will look to the 2022 draft to add a few developmental prospects to its receiving room, but Thomas remains the veteran heavyweight and the key to the Saints finding any offensive rhythm this season.
Besides, out of all teams, a trade to Jacksonville? We’re sure Thomas has higher standards than that.