The New Orleans Saints have had it leak that they are interested in extending Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Thomas before the 2019 season, even possibly before the start of training camp.
Let’s pretend like we live in a world where the deal is done and we’re just waiting on final details on the numbers. Forget total value, forget number of years, and even forget the amount of guaranteed money. What would you guess the average annual salary figure is on the extension?
Bleacher Report predicts something around the $20 million per year mark.
Michael Thomas is actually a year older than Amari Cooper, but he has one fewer pro season under his belt and thus likely has more tread on his tires. That could explain why sources told Dianna Russini that the Saints “are comfortable making him the highest-paid receiver in the game.”
It’s going to happen.
The 26-year-old has put together three unbelievably productive seasons in as many years as an NFL player, and his third campaign was easily his best yet. Pro Football Reference has reception rate statistics dating back to 1992, and Thomas’ 2018 reception rate of 85.0 percent is the highest among receivers with 100-plus catches in that 27-year span by nearly an eight-point margin over Wes Welker.
He’s also the only player in NFL history to catch 300-plus passes in his first three seasons.
Yes, a lot of that has to do with the fact that he’s working with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, but it’s not as though Brees or Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers or even Peyton Manning got that kind of early-career production out of any other receiver.
The key is the Saints likely see Thomas—who is entering the final year of his rookie deal—as a player who will continue to rise beyond the end of the Brees era, one who could team up with Alvin Kamara and possibly Teddy Bridgewater to keep the team competitive after Brees retires. He should only be entering his prime.
Odell Beckham Jr. set the wide receiver market with a five-year deal worth a record $18 million per season last August, and it’d be shocking if Thomas didn’t eclipse that with the salary cap 6 percent higher now than it was then.
Projected contract: Five years, $100 million with $70 million guaranteed
Cam Jordan was just extended earlier this offseason, but signed a relatively team-friendly deal. Could the Saints be as lucky with Thomas? Reports are the Saints are willing to make Thomas the highest paid wide receiver at the time the contract is signed. So what do you think the average annual salary will be for Thomas? Vote in the poll. Explain in the comments. Send me presents.
What will Michael Thomas’s average annual salary be in a hypothetical extension?
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