The Saints have two top-ranked free agents; should they be re-signed?

The New Orleans Saints have two players that are ranked amongst the NFL’s top free agents. Should the team try to re-sign these players or let them walk?

New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings
New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

If free agency started today, the New Orleans Saints wouldn’t be able to make any signings. That’s because the team is still more than $30 million over the salary cap, despite clearing over $40 million in cap space. However, the Saints will figure it out, get under the cap, and, eventually, go after free agents.

While New Orleans will certainly need to bring in some new talent, the team also has quite a few players set to become unrestricted free agents. None of those players are bigger than quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Michael Thomas. That was made clear in a recent ranking of pending free agents.

Gregg Rosenthal recently ranked the top 101 free agents of 2024. Winston and Thomas were the only two Saints, with Winston being ranked No. 95 and Thomas ending the list at No. 101. Clearly, these two players will garner interest. New Orleans must decide if it wants to re-sign them or let them walk.

Should Saints re-sign Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas?

The answer for Jameis Winston is an easy yes. New Orleans needs a backup quarterback, and Winston is perfect for the role. He’s loved by everyone, can fill in if necessary, and also has starter potential. Unfortunately, that’s also the reason why the Saints may ultimately lose Winston. He’s made it clear that he wants to be a starter, and if an opportunity to do so presents itself in free agency, Winston is likely to take it.

Michael Thomas, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. Thomas’ last full season was in 2019, and he led the league in receptions and receiving yards that year. In the four seasons since, he has played a total of 20 games. Thomas has, however, still produced when on the field, catching 95 passes for 1,057 yards and four touchdowns in that 20-game span.

Unfortunately, all signs point to both sides, the Saints and Thomas, moving on. Thomas has been open about his frustrations over the recent years, and New Orleans has two young talented receivers in Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed. It’s safe to assume the Saints will just let Thomas move on.