SaintsSports

Agent: Saints, Thomas, agree on 5-year, $100M contract

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints and leading receiver Michael Thomas have agreed to a new five-year, $100 million contract, his agent said Wednesday.

Andrew Kessler of the agency Athletes First, who joined colleague David Mulugheta in negotiating the deal with the Saints, said the contract pays Thomas about $61 million in guaranteed salary and bonuses.

The agreement, first reported by NFL Network, brings to an end Thomas’ training camp holdout that spanned five practices.

The Saints had a scheduled day off on Wednesday and Thomas was expected to join practice on Thursday.

Currently, Thomas’ average annual pay of $20 million represents a new high for NFL receivers, eclipsing the $18 million per year paid to Cleveland’s Odell Beckham Jr.

Last season, Thomas ranked first in the NFL in catches with 125, sixth in yards receiving with 1,405 and tied for 10th with nine touchdowns.

Thomas has established himself as an elite receiver with 321 catches for 3,787 yards and 23 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons.

But other top NFL receivers, including Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Dallas’ Amari Cooper, are nearing the ends of their current contracts and could be in line for similarly lucrative extensions.

Thomas was entering the final season of his rookie deal and was due a little more than $1.1 million. Cooper entered training camp in the final year of his deal, but hasn’t held out. Jones is under contract through 2020.

The sticking point in the Thomas negotiations had more to do with the structure of the deal than the average annual value. The Saints wanted wiggle room under the NFL salary cap to also negotiate extensions with a number of other promising young players whose contracts will expire in coming years, such as running back Alvin Kamara and top cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

“We’re going to do a deal that we feel works for us regardless of what other teams may or may not do,” Saints’ general manager Mickey Loomis said last week, when Thomas failed to report for camp. “I understand (Thomas’) thinking. He wants to be paid the value that he perceives himself.”

Thomas plays in an offense that was among the NFL’s best long before he arrived. Run by record-setting quarterback Drew Brees and designed by coach Sean Payton, the Saints’ offense has been one of the NFL’s most productive for nearly a decade and a half.

Brees has overwhelmingly thrown Thomas’ way in recent seasons.

Thomas has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first three seasons since New Orleans made him a second-round draft choice out of Ohio State.

 

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Joel Rodgers

Joel Rodgers joined RSHV News 1 in January 2018 as a reporter/journalist. Prior to joining our team, Joel spent the previous 5 years as a morning show reporter, entertainment reporter, and sports reporter for a local television station. At 6’5”, he's the tallest reporter in the history of Shreveport, but it’s more than just his height that makes this Shreveport native stand out. His editing skills combined with his love for storytelling makes for a creative and talented addition to the RSHV News 1 team. After attending and graduating from Evangel Christian Academy, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern State University. Joel is very active in the Shreveport community having won several competitions in recent years. In 2017, he danced his way to victory in the annual Susan G. Komen event, “Dancing for the Cure." He’s also won the “Mudbug Madness” Crawfish eating contest in back-to-back years and was named the top celebrity chef at the “Louisiana Food Prize” cooking competition. If you have a story idea, news tip, or just want to say "hey" - you can do so by emailing Joel Rodgers at jrodgers@realshreveport.com

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