The New Orleans Saints could look drastically different in 2021 than they did in 2020. Longtime quarterback Drew Brees could retire this offseason. If that happens, it would be the first time since 2005 that the Saints would go into a season without Brees as the starting signal-caller, which would directly impact fellow stars Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.
If that occurs, the offense will look drastically different. Brees was beginning to lose the battle against Father Time as his intended air yards per attempt have been steadily falling in recent seasons. However, with the dire cap situation that New Orleans is in, there could be even more changes on the offensive side of the ball.
The Saints, regardless of what Brees decides to do, are at least $65 million over the projected cap for 2021. They will have to get creative in getting under it. One way could be trading Michael Thomas.
Would the Saints actually entertain the idea of trading away their star receiver? That was the daring move selected for an ESPN article, and there is some sense to it.
Thomas’ value isn’t high right now after an injury-riddled season in which he appeared in only seven games, catching 40 passes for 438 yards and zero touchdowns. He also got into an altercation with teammate C.J. Gardner-Johnson and was suspended as a result. Rumors about a potential trade occurred then and are warming up again.
Despite that, there would undoubtedly be a market for the former Ohio State Buckeye. In his first four seasons in the league, Thomas was an absolute monster. He recorded at least 92 receptions, 1,137 yards, and five touchdowns every season. He had also proven durable, playing in all but one game the first four seasons of his career, and that one missed game was in his rookie season.
Trading away a player of Michael Thomas’ caliber is never an easy thing, but the $12.8 million the Saints could save on the cap might be too much to pass up. With the influx of talent at the wide receiver position in the draft, the Saints could also select a long-term replacement. They could also try and snag a cheaper receiver in a potential Thomas deal.
Trading away Thomas would certainly qualify as a daring move for the Saints. But if they learned anything during the 2020 season, it is that Thomas may be more expendable than they ever previously thought.