Patriots should trade for Michael Thomas at discount after disaster 2020

Saints WR Michael Thomas (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Saints WR Michael Thomas (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Patriots should consider trading for Michael Thomas this offseason.

New England Patriots fans should be preparing for the front office to make significant changes to the roster this offseason. In terms of the wide receiver position, we could be looking at an entirely different unit in 2021 outside of breakout stud Jakobi Meyers.

As we know, the futures of Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry are extremely uncertain. When it comes to the former, there’s growing speculation that he could either retire or be released. The latter, meanwhile, could be traded after struggling mightily to showcase improvement as a sophomore after a lackluster rookie campaign in 2019.

Projected to be flush with cap space, the Patriots are one of a handful of teams in the NFL said to be in the market for one of the top receivers set to hit free agency. However, what about trading for somebody like Michael Thomas, one of the upper echelon talents at the position who would potentially come at discount after a lost season, stuck on the books of a franchise poised to reload after losing its quarterback?

If your answer to this question wasn’t an unequivocal yes, we have serious concerns about your football knowledge.

Thomas’ willingness to push through a lingering high ankle sprain, that saw him placed on injured reserve twice (!) this season, to be able to compete with Drew Brees in what will likely be his final year in the NFL is just a testament to the type of teammate he is.

Thomas suffered the injury late in Week 1 and his campaign was all downhill from there. When all was said and done, he appeared in just seven games and compiled 40 receptions for 438 yards and zero touchdowns. Clearly hindered by the injury, the two-time All-Pro was even held catch-less against the Buccaneers in the Divisional Round this past weekend.

Let’s also not forget earlier in the year that Thomas was suspended for Week 5 after getting into an altercation with a teammate at practice, refusing counsel and barking back at coaches when he was informed of his punishment. A follow-up report noted that the Saints were growing concerned with his attitude, and that only fueled speculation that he could be dealt at the deadline.

Taking all of that into account, this is probably the only time that Thomas will become available for anything less than a back-breaking haul. As disastrous as 2020 was for him, this is still a player who averaged 126 receptions for 1,458 yards and 7.6 touchdowns over his first four seasons.

At 27 years old, Thomas has several years of his prime remaining. He’s also under contract for the next four seasons, so it’s not like the Patriots would be taking the risk of unloading draft capital for a player who might not re-sign with them in free agency.

The Saints face a seemingly impossible task this offseason in terms of getting under the salary cap for 2021, and shedding the former second-round pick’s contract would go a long way in helping them do just that. If they’re bold enough to shop him at a discount, the Patriots better be ready to pounce.