|ADP:||Round: 3, Pick: 3|
|Team:||New Orleans Saints|
|Ht / Wt:||6'3" / 212 lb.|
|Born:||March 3, 1993|
|Drafted:||2016 / Rd. 2 (47)|
Thomas (ankle) restructured his contract to create $8.7 million in cap space for the Saints, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Analysis: This was inevitable considering the ever-lasting salary-cap hole the Saints continue to climb out of. Perhaps more importantly, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reports Thomas' cap hit will now exceed $24 million in each of the next three seasons, essentially locking in the star wide receiver with the team for the foreseeable future. It's also entirely likely the Saints will have to continually revisit the contract in the upcoming years similar to what the team did with quarterback Drew Brees throughout the later stages of his career.
Thomas is expected to undergo surgeries on his shoulder and ankle this offseason, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Analysis: Thomas has a torn deltoid in his shoulder and injured ligaments in the upper part of his ankle. The ankle issues caused him to miss nine games in 2020, and this report from Schefter suggests he might've sat out longer if he hadn't been so eager for a Super Bowl push in what was expected to be Drew Brees' final NFL season. The campaign had a disappointing finish -- both for Thomas individually and the Saints as a whole --- but there were some encouraging developments along the way, including Taysom Hill completing 71.9 percent of his passes in four starts. Thomas averaged 7.5 catches for 85.8 yards on 9.3 targets in those four games, and he was even more productive in 2019 when Teddy Bridgewater played QB for New Orleans. The soon-to-be 28-year-old wideout should continue to put up big numbers even if Brees retires, though he will face an added challenge heading into 2021, likely missing part of the offseason program or even training camp while he rehabs from multiple surgeries.
Thomas was targeted four times and did not record a reception in Sunday's season-ending 30-20 loss to the Buccaneers.
Analysis: In a shocking turn of events, last season's reception leader was held without a catch for a full game as a starter for the first time in his career. Drew Brees and the Saints' coaching staff clearly wanted to focus on shorter drop backs and quicker throws to combat Tampa Bay's aggressive blitzing defense, but that still doesn't excuse the lack of involvement Thomas received, as he is an elite route runner at all three levels. Perhaps the 27-year-old was still being hampered by the high-ankle sprain that cost him four games at the end of the regular season; whatever the case, it was a disappointing end to a rough 2020 campaign for the All-Pro wideout. Thomas was limited to seven contests during the regular season due to injuries and off-field conduct, finishing with career lows in receptions (40), yards (438) and touchdowns (zero). Unlike his fellow playmaking star, Alvin Kamara, Thomas could benefit from Drew Brees' potential retirement this offseason, as the legendary quarterback saw his arm strength and deep accuracy fall off of a cliff this year. If the Saints are forced to look for a new starting quarterback in 2021, we could see a different version of Michael Thomas that sacrifices reception volume for a big boost in yards per reception.
Thomas secured five of seven targets for 73 yards and a touchdown in the Saints' 21-9 win over the Bears on Sunday.
Analysis: Back in action after three games on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain, Thomas stepped up for a big game in the postseason victory. He secured an 11-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter when he caught a short pass over the middle and pushed through defenders into the endzone. The ankle injury seems to be behind him, and he'll look to build on this strong showing in the NFC divisional round when the Saints host the Buccaneers.
The Saints activated Thomas (ankle) from injured reserve Saturday, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reports.
Analysis: After missing the last three games of the regular season due to a high-ankle sprain, Thomas progressed enough since his practice window opened Wednesday to be available for the Saints' playoff opener Sunday. It'll be interesting to see if he can handle his typical workload of 7.9 targets per game from the current campaign, but if he does he'll have a good chance to profit against a Bears defense that has allowed 8.3 YPT to wide receivers this season (12th worst in the NFL).
The Saints designated Thomas (ankle) to return from injured reserve Wednesday, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reports.
Analysis: Thomas was sidelined for the final three games of the regular season as he tended to a high-ankle sprain. With Wednesday's move, New Orleans has the next four days to determine whether he's fit to be activated in time for Sunday's wild-card game against the Bears. Alvin Kamara (illness) currently is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so if the running back is unavailable again this weekend and Thomas is cleared to play, he'll no doubt be the apple of Drew Brees' eye as the Saints open the postseason.
Thomas (ankle) is expected to rejoin the Saints for practice Wednesday as a limited participant, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Analysis: After missing the Saints' final three regular-season games with a high-ankle sprain, Thomas is eligible to return from injured reserve this week as New Orleans prepares for its wild-card matchup Sunday versus the Bears. The Saints have yet to designate Thomas for a return from IR, but Rapoport's report suggests that will happen later Wednesday. According to Rapoport, Thomas is gradually expected to ramp up his activity throughout the week with the hope of suiting up against Chicago, but his return to game action is not locked in at this stage. Per Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, head coach Sean Payton said the Saints likely wouldn't have a good feel for Thomas' status for the postseason opener until later in the week, after the team has a chance to see how his ankle responds to practice work.
Saints head coach Sean Payton said Tuesday that he's optimistic that Thomas (ankle) will be back from injured reserve in the minimum three weeks while returning at 100 percent health, Jane Slater of NFL Network reports.
Analysis: Payton noted that Thomas likely could have played through his lingering ankle injury at less than full strength while remaining productive, but the Saints opted to put him on IR over the weekend with an eye on getting the best version of the receiver for the postseason. Though Thomas' absence over the final three games of the regular season hinders the Saints' chances of claiming the NFC's No. 1 seed over the Packers, New Orleans remains in good shape to have home-field advantage in the wild-card and divisional rounds. With Thomas sidelined for the Week 15 loss to the Chiefs, Emmanuel Sanders (four receptions for 76 yards) led the Saints in receiving, and he'll likely continue to benefit from a bump in targets for the final two regular-season contests.
Thomas (ankle) has been officially placed on IR by the Saints.
Analysis: Deonte Harris (neck) also landed on IR on Saturday, which prompted the Saints to promote wideouts Juwan Johnson and Tommylee Lewis from the team's practice squad. With Thomas now confirmed to be done for the rest of the regular season, Emmanuel Sanders and Tre'Quan Smith will serve as New Orleans' top two wide receiver options down the stretch.
Thomas (ankle) will be placed on injured reserve Saturday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Analysis: That ends a dreadful 2020 campaign for Thomas who missed nine games in large part due to a high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 1 against the Bucs. The Saints haven't officially announced the IR move, but should the inevitable occur, the 27-year-old would be eligible to return for the opening round of the NFL playoffs towards the beginning of January.
The Saints ruled Thomas (ankle) out for Sunday's game against the Chiefs, Luke Johnson of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Analysis: Drew Brees (ribs) is expected to return from injured reserve, but he'll have to get it done without his top wide receiver. The Saints held Thomas out of practice all week, seemingly due to a setback with the ankle issue that caused a prolonged absence earlier this season. Emmanuel Sanders and Tre'Quan Smith figure to get the most wideout reps Sunday, with Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook also leading candidates to take on some of the vacated targets. Thomas has accounted for 29 percent of the Saints' targets in six games since he returned to action Week 9. The wideout's next chance to play will be a rare Friday game in Week 16, with the Saints getting only four days of rest before they face the Vikings on Dec. 25.
Thomas (ankle) was a non-participant at Thursday's practice, Field Yates of ESPN reports.
Analysis: With another absence under his belt this week, Thomas may be trending in the wrong direction as the Saints prepare for Sunday's game versus the Chiefs. In the end, his listing on Friday's injury report will be telling for his Week 15 availability. If Thomas is able to gut out the ankle injury that's followed him throughout the campaign, he could be working with Taysom Hill or Drew Brees (ribs), who was designated to return from IR on Wednesday.
Thomas (ankle) didn't take part in practice Wednesday.
Analysis: Thomas was listed as limited on the first two Week 14 injury reports before a full session last Friday cleared him to play this past Sunday at Philadelphia. He remained Taysom Hill's clear-cut No. 1 receiver, hauling in all eight targets for 84 yards. With a downgrade in activity to begin this week, Thomas may just have received a maintenance day for the ankle that his hindered him for most of the campaign. Still, his status -- along with Drew Brees (ribs), who was designated to return from IR on Wednesday -- will be one to monitor closely as the weekend approaches.
Thomas caught all eight of his targets for 84 yards in Sunday's 24-21 loss to the Eagles.
Analysis: It was a typically efficient line for Thomas as he led the Saints in catches and receiving yards. He's posted a 30-343-0 line on 37 targets over the four games started by Taysom Hill, but even if Drew Brees (ribs) is able to return in Week 15, Thomas figures to see heavy volume again as New Orleans hosts Patrick Mahomes and the high-octane Kansas City offense.
Thomas (ankle) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's game in Philadelphia.
Analysis: Thomas was a limited practice participant Wednesday and Thursday before upgrading to full on Friday. He's the only guy on the Saints who has seen consistent target volume with Taysom Hill at quarterback, averaging 7.3 catches for 86.3 yards the past three weeks. Thomas could face shadow coverage from CB Darius Slay on Sunday, but that's not the same challenge it might have been a few years ago. DK Metcalf and Davante Adams feasted on Slay in Weeks 12 and 13, respectively.
Thomas (ankle) practiced in a limited fashion Thursday, Luke Johnson of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Analysis: Again, Thomas' practice reps were capped this week, the residual effect of the ankle injury that sidelined him for six games earlier this season. His availability for game day isn't really in question, but he still could receive a designation on Friday's injury report. In any case, with Taysom Hill expected to start a fourth straight contest Sunday at Philadelphia, Thomas will look to continue his rapport with the signal-caller, which has resulted in two 100-yard efforts (but no touchdowns) so far.
Thomas (ankle) was a limited practice participant Wednesday.
Analysis: The Saints opened their first session of Week 14 without Thomas on the field, but he must have made an appearance at some point to emerge with a cap on his reps. An ankle injury continues to be the culprit for his limitations in practice. Still, Thomas has been in top form in three games with Taysom Hill under center, racking up 22 catches (on 29 targets) for 259 yards and no touchdowns.
Thomas (undisclosed) was spotted at the portion of Wednesday's practice open to the media, Katherine Terrell of The Athletic reports.
Analysis: Thomas has carried an ankle injury into December, so he may be receiving some extra treatment on the region, or the Saints could be giving him a maintenance day. Whatever the case, the team will reveal his activity level and cause for any limitations upon the release of Wednesday's practice report.
Thomas secured nine of 11 targets for 105 yards during Sunday's 21-16 win against the Falcons.
Analysis: Thomas has now posted two nine-catch, 100-plus-yard receiving performances against the Falcons over his past three games appearances. Sandwiched between was a four-catch, 50-yard Week 12 letdown against the Broncos, but there has been a revival in recent appearances from the two-time All-Pro. In his first two games back from ankle and hamstring injuries Weeks 9 and 10, Thomas managed only four combined catches for 78 yards. His fantasy outlook will likely only improve if Drew Brees (ribs) is able to return Week 14 for a matchup against the Eagles. Taysom Hill threw for 232 yards and two scores against the Falcons, but he's still averaging just 18 completions per game with two total pass TDs over three starts.
Thomas (ankle) doesn't have a designation for Sunday's contest at Atlanta.
Analysis: Thomas followed up back-to-back limited listings on Saints injury reports with all activity to wrap up Week 13 preparations, setting the stage for him to play Sunday. He'll look for his second 100-yard outing of the season against a Falcons defense that has conceded a league-worst 9.5 yards per target to wide receivers this season.
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