Things are not good between the New Orleans Saints and the franchise’s star wide receiver, Michael Thomas. Drew Brees retired in the offseason and the team expected Thomas to help the next Saints quarterback – be it Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill – lead the team to success.
Instead, Thomas is laid up, recovering from foot surgery in June. He will miss the first few weeks of the season, but there’s a bigger problem. The Saints thought he should have gone under the knife well before that. Now, the sides are seriously at odds.
Michael Thomas and the New Orleans Saints aren’t getting along
Star wideout Michael Thomas and the New Orleans Saints aren’t very happy with each other right now.
After five years, four playoff appearances, three Pro Bowls, and two All-Pro teams, one delayed foot surgery is causing a major rift between the Ohio State product and the only NFL team he’s ever played for.
“Michael Thomas is expected to miss the start of the 2021 season after undergoing surgery to repair the ligaments in his ankle in June,” NFL insider Ian Rapoport tweeted in late July. “Based on the timing of the surgery – and recommended 4 months of recovery – Thomas could be on the sideline for weeks.”
Thomas missed nine weeks in 2020 with the injury. It started in Week 2 and ended with the season’s last three games. This injury was not a surprise, yet the 6-foot-3 pass-catcher waited six months for surgery.
His coach, Sean Payton, lashed out at the wide receiver. He said “it’s disappointing” the surgery didn’t happen earlier even though, “quite honestly, it should’ve.” There are also reports that the team could not get in touch with Thomas throughout the offseason.
Thomas escalated the feud with a cryptic social media post
Things were settling down, and the media’s attention on the Saints started focusing on the players in training camp. Then, Thomas threw a grenade at the team on social media.
In a cryptic Twitter post on August 9, Thomas posted a picture of a black square with white writing that simply said:
They tried to damage your reputation. You saved theirs by not telling your side of the story.via @cantguardmike
This post seems to suggest that Thomas has some serious issues with the organization and that the club might not be as guilt-free in this situation as it seems. Whatever the truth, the reality is that this tweet upped the drama between the two sides. Whenever (or if ever) Thomas reports back to the team, we’ll all be watching closely.
Will the Saints trade Michael Thomas?
Before Michael Thomas comes back, likely a few weeks into the 2021 season, and causes a major distraction, there’s been speculation the Saints might seek to trade the talented but angry star.
Rapoport seems plugged into one or both sides of the situation. He explained why a trade could be “complicated.” The reporter said the relationship between the two sides is “not really in a good place.”
“A trade is not off the table at some point,” Rapoport admitted. One complicating factor is Thomas’ injury which will likely put him on the PUP list to start the year. If he is, the Saints can’t trade him until the trade deadline.
Also, a trade would do damage to the New Orleans Saints’ cap situation. Thomas’ contract would leave $8 million in dead money this season and $22 million next season, which makes a trade “not impossible, but not easy either,” according to the insider.
This saga is just beginning. Stay tuned for inside reports and maybe even more social media shots.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference