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2023 Player Review: Michael Thomas

Thomas had a rocky year in New Orleans.

New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints veteran wide receiver Michael Thomas went into the 2023 season with something to prove. He’s finished his last three seasons on the injured reserve and has failed to reach 1,000 yards in a season since his record-breaking 2019 campaign. New Orleans would restructure the long-time receiver's contract at the end of the 2022 season to a “prove it” deal.

The Saints signed veteran quarterback Derek Carr early during the 2023 free agency period, and Thomas was a big reason why. Carr is on record saying Thomas was a big advocate in recruiting him, and they could “take on the world.”

Carr’s inaugural season wasn't all rainbow and sunshine. It was quite the opposite. Carr has been the face of criticism for many of the Saints' failures to meet expectations in the 2023 season. The offense was dull and inconsistent throughout the season causing New Orleans to move on from long-time offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael.

Thomas finished the season appearing in 10 games, recording 39 receptions for 448 yards and a touchdown. The seven-year vet was the definition of consistent through the team’s first eight games pulling in 3+ catches and 40+ yards in each game. Thomas’ role in 2023 was to be a consistent WR2 behind fellow Ohio State Buckeye Chris Olave, who broke out for New Orleans in 2022.

The offense’s struggles hurt all skill positions. Many times throughout the season, Thomas would break free and be open, but bad OLine play, plays drawn up awkwardly, or Carr not seeing the wide-open Thomas created frustration among everybody. These were recurring mistakes during the season and the players’ body language started to confirm it.

Thomas’ season would end like in recent years, on injured reserve. Quarterback Derek Carr made a bad read against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10 throwing a ball that would get Thomas hit directly after. He left the game and did not return for the rest of the season.

Thomas is a Saints legend and had a big part in the team's success in recent years, but his inability to be on the field and a recent rants on Twitter/X shows his future in New Orleans is in doubt.


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