Here’s what a trade for Saints WR Michael Thomas could look like if the Patriots are interested.
Until the 2020 trade deadline passes, the New England Patriots are going to be linked with every wide receiver under the sun who is either in the middle of a contract dispute, unhappy with his current role or simply has an uncertain future with his organization.
Players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Allen Robinson have been linked via trade to the Patriots, but those rumors have since flamed out after both studs came out publicly and asserted that they were happy in Cleveland and Chicago.
The same, however, cannot be said for Saints star Michael Thomas, who passionately took to social media after a report from The Athletic claimed that he’s developing a concerning reputation for being difficult and “crossing the line” on too many occasions.
Thomas, of course, was suspended for the Saints’ Week 5 matchup after getting into an altercation with a teammate at practice. However, the report says that his discipline had more to with his behavior afterwards than it did the actual fight, as he allegedly barked back at coaches and “refused counsel.”
You’d better believe that Belichick is keeping a close eye on this situation in the event that Thomas demands a trade, so let’s dive into what the Patriots would have to give up in a potential deal for the All-Pro wideout.
It goes without saying that Thomas is one of the top receivers in the NFL. Just last year, he broke the single-season reception record after compiling 149 catches for 1,725 yards (both of which led the league) and nine touchdowns. Over the last three campaigns, he’s averaged an impossible 126 receptions for 1,458 yards and 7.6 TDs.
Thomas’ overall value to the Saints has been on full display through the first five games of 2020, as their offense has uncharacteristically struggled to move the ball downfield. The Ohio State product hasn’t played since Week 1 after sustaining a high-ankle sprain. It’s unclear whether he would have returned for Monday night (he was listed as questionable), but his suspension ruined any shot of that happening.
Whatever the case, here’s the bottom line: Not many receivers can say they are one of the best in the game and also incredibly important to their team’s success. With that in mind, it would take a serious haul to be able to pry Thomas from the Saints’ clutches, regardless of how fed up they are with his antics.
When you consider Thomas’ overall value, age (27) and the fact that signed a $100 million extension last offseason, you’re probably looking at a handful of draft picks. Perhaps a package containing a first, third and fifth-rounder will be enough to appease Saints GM Mickey Loomis. The most recent massive WR trade (DeAndre Hopkins) obviously has little to no bearing on this situation, and the OBJ deal only feels tangentially relevant. Both were rip-offs the likes of which Bill Belichick would probably be unable to execute.
The Patriots should obviously figure out their quarterback situation before entertaining the thought of trading for Thomas. However, there’s no denying that they have the assets and salary cap space to make it work … assuming he becomes available.
A shift to the Patriots culture might be just the thing Thomas needs to keep his emotions in check and focus all of his energy on football, which he’s damn good at.