How Michael Thomas went from Saints star to getting unceremoniously released

Michael Thomas' release signifies the end of an era for the New Orleans Saints. An era where Thomas went from setting NFL records to constant injuries.

New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings
New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages
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2016: Setting Saints rookie records

Thomas cracked the starting lineup right away as the WR2 behind Brandin Cooks and logged four statement games. He burst onto the scene in Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs when he posted a game-high 10 catches for 130 yards for his first career 100-yard game. In Week 9 against the San Francisco 49ers, he hauled in five catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns in the first multi-score game of his career.

Thomas' second career 100-yard game came in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams, where he caught nine balls for 108 yards and cashed in on two touchdowns. This was the first time in his career that he would reach both the 100-yard and multiple-score milestones. He capped off the season with a fine toasting of the Atlanta Falcons' secondary to the tune of 10 catches, 156 yards, and a touchdown. Unfortunately, those Dirty Birds were led by eventual MVP Matt Ryan and won it 38-32.

Thomas set a laundry list of Saints franchise rookie records that not even Chris Olave passed in his extremely promising rookie year. Thomas shares the targets record (121) with Reggie Bush, and he outright holds the records in receptions (92), yards (1,137), receiving yards per game (75.8), and touchdowns (9). This set the tone for his next few seasons as Brees' favorite target.