Way back in 2016, the New Orleans Saints drafted a tall, lengthy receiver with solid potential to provide an NFL team with good depth from the wide receiver position. That wide receiver’s name was Michael Thomas; a steal in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, a guy who holds numerous New Orleans Saints and NFL records, and a dude who stepped up and became the number one target for legendary quarterback, Drew Brees. Just from the initial knowledge, you may wonder why he deserves to be the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. Well, I’m here to break it down for you.
As a rookie in 2016, Michael Thomas made an instant impact with 92 receptions for 1,137 yards and 9 touchdowns. He broke the New Orleans Saints records for receptions by a rookie, receiving yards by a rookie, and touchdowns by a rookie receiver. He finished off the season as a candidate to win Rookie of the Year, but fell just shy to Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Dak Prescott. This was when the NFL started to notice that the Saints had found a diamond in the rough. In his second season, Michael improved even more as he hauled in 104 receptions for 1,245 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also helped lead the Saints into the playoffs, where he played exceptionally well. This was his first season as the Saints’ number one wide receiver. He finished the season as a Pro Bowler for the first time and also debuted on the NFL’s Top 100 list at number 81. Michael Thomas officially had everyone’s respect as a legitimate threat coming into the 2018 season. Thomas had two years under his belt already and wasted no time dominating in his third season in the NFL. In week one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mike hauled in a franchise record 16 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown. Nobody in the 2018 season had more receptions in a game. Thomas went on to finish that season with 125 receptions, 1,405 yards, and 9 touchdowns. He also played a major role in leading the Saints to the playoffs for the second straight season. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time and considering how he led the NFL in receptions, was also named an NFL First Team All-Pro for the first time.
Not only is Michael Thomas a great receiver statistically, he’s also a great teammate. On the football field, Michael Thomas is strictly business. He shows up to every game ready to ball out and help the Saints win football games. He rarely gets flagged (only once this far in his career) and he stays out of trouble. Usually when you look at some of the best wide receivers in the NFL, you tend to notice that they are drama queens, trouble makers, or are constantly hurting their teams with dumb penalties. Mike Thomas is the kind of guy who respects the history of the New Orleans Saints and wants to be a part of the future success of the franchise as well. He is considered a fun loving guy in the clubhouse and he’s also never rude to the media and will go out of his way to bring a smile to someone’s face. He’s the kind of guy who should be the face of the wide receiver position in the NFL.
In conclusion, Michael Thomas is very much deserving of the $22 million he is requesting from the New Orleans Saints. He has proven time and time again that he can be a productive, reliable, and professional wide receiver in the NFL. He stays out of trouble and has proven to be a great member to the Saints and the City of New Orleans. His statistics improve every season and as a Saints fan, it’s extremely exciting to see what the future holds for him. He also stays healthy! Michael Thomas has only missed one game in three seasons and he hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season. The New Orleans Saints should definitely try to find a way to pay Michael Thomas the amount he wants or someone else surely will.
Michael Balko is a Contributor for the Unwrapped Sports Network website. Follow him @michaelbalko on Twitter.