The New England Patriots did something they aren’t known for this offseason. They spent lavishly, in free agency. The normally cost-conscious Patriots had money to spend and they were aggressive in doing so. Could they consider being even more aggressive by making a trade for New Orleans Saints star wideout Michael Thomas.
Bill Belichick and company do not want a repeat of the 7-9 season they had in 2020, so they brought in some players to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Matthew Judon and Kyle Van Noy were signed at linebacker. Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung are returning after opting out of 2020 to give New England the looks of another strong defense.
Offensively, they added some much-needed weaponry to the skill positions as well. While Cam Newton, Brain Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham struggled last season, New England didn’t do much to help them at wide receiver and tight end. In 2021, that will not be the case.
The Patriots landed two of the top tight ends available, signing Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. They could be going back to their Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez days offensively.
At wide receiver, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne were signed to go along with Jakobi Meyers. Former first-round pick N’Keal Harry is still on the roster but is losing supporters quickly within the organization.
New England spent roughly $77.5 in guaranteed money on their receiving group and they are certainly upgraded. But, the team still lacks a true No. 1 target. Could Thomas of the Saints fill that void?
When healthy, Thomas is as dominant as they come at the wide receiver position. He had at least 1,137 yards and five touchdowns each of his first four seasons in the NFL. He led the league in receptions with 125 and 149 in 2018 and 2019. In 2019, he was also the leading receiver with 1,725 yards.
In 2020, battling injuries and suspension, he played in only seven games. His 2021 is going to be shortened as well as he underwent surgery in June to repair his injured ankle. The timetable for him to return is four months, so we may not see him on the field until October.
Despite the very real injury concerns that he has, Thomas is worthwhile for New England to check into the availability of. If he proves to be unhealthy or a poor fit with the Patriots, they have a potential out in 2022 according to Spotrac.
There were rumors earlier in the offseason that the Saints could look to move on from their dynamic wide receiver as they were in dire straits when it came to the salary cap. If that is something they are still pondering, New England should certainly pounce if the price is right.
Built to overpower teams with the running game, things would be even easier for the Patriots’ offense if they had a dynamic, true No. 1 wide receiver taking some attention away from opposing defenses as well. Michael Thomas could be that weapon for New England.