The New Orleans Saints helped bring out the best years of Michael Thomas' injury-shortened career, but Thomas' future with the franchise isn't set in stone.
The Saints' 2022 season has been going off the rails, arguably reaching a low point after getting shut out by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12.
If NOLA wants to break down the roster and rebuild for next season, they could trade Michael Thomas if anyone would actually want him. Given his concerning injury history, the Saints may not get much for him, yet it could be best for both Thomas and the Saints to part ways.
Following the New York Jets' dominant Week 12 victory, Thomas retweeted a Jets highlight video that was captioned "MIKE WHITE SZN" and also retweeted a video of Jets wideout Garrett Wilson breaking away for a touchdown.
Saints' Michael Thomas tweets his support for New York Jets wideout Garrett Wilson
Could this mean Thomas is interested in joining the Jets?
The Michael Thomas rumor mill has been relatively quiet so far this season, though Bleacher Report linked the star receiver to the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.
With very little substantial evidence to go on, Thomas may only be stirring the pot or more likely tweeting his support for Garrett Wilson, who attended the same college he did.
By the numbers, though, the Saints dealing Thomas this offseason makes at least some sense. Per Bleacher Report, New Orleans can save roughly $16.5 million against the 2023 salary cap if Thomas is traded or released with a post-June 1 designation. The Saints would already have a 2023 dead cap hit of $11,813,000 but would save $16,450,000 by trading him, per Spotrac.
If NOLA opts for a trade, the biggest difficulty is finding a team that would be willing to take on the remainder of his pricey contract. If Thomas gets released, he could potentially sign a more team-friendly deal with whatever franchise he has his sights set on.
As the season nears its end, the Saints' intentions with Thomas may become more clear. Despite his past production, he hasn't proven he can stay healthy after his ankle injury, and New Orleans may be inclined to start fresh in 2023.