The New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas have agreed to a reworked contract that lowers his 2023 salary from $15.5M to $1.65M. This move also adds a $31.755M roster bonus that will be guaranteed on March 17, 2023.
In return, Michael Thomas receives a $902,941 signing bonus, the same as a game check for him. It made sense for both sides because the Saints weren't going to keep him at the number he was at, so he gets an extra game check, and the two sides have time to work to figure out their future. The move ultimately allows the Saints to have large-cap flexibility heading into 2023.
The Saints and WR Michael Thomas agreed to a reworked contract that includes a $903K payment for him this week and sets the stage for the team to make a decision on his future early in the offseason. Details: https://t.co/TRGovlvmTz— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 7, 2023
The first report came from Field Yates, an ESPN insider, but Nick Underhill suggested this exact outcome in November. It is a very similar move to when the Saints reworked Drew Brees’ and later he retired, and the Saints were able to stretch his dead money over two years. This move signals that this could be the end of Michael Thomas with the Saints, they could move on via outright cutting him or trading him. In both situations, they would be able to stretch his cap over multiple years.
This move doesn't guarantee the Saints and Michael Thomas parting ways. There are still ways to keep him around. But it would take a lot of further negations which they will have.
Michael Thomas in 2020 through 2022 only has 56 catches for 609 yards and 3 TDs. In 2019 he had 149 catches, 1,725 yards, and 9 TDs. Unfortunately, the Saints can't gamble with his health while they are in another offseason with a tight cap situation.