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Michael Thomas

New Orleans Saints
Wide Receiver #13
New Orleans Saints
Wide Receiver #13
Photo: Icon Sportswire

Michael Thomas News

Shifts back to reserve/PUP list

Thomas (illness/ankle) was removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday. He's still on the reserve/PUP list Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reports.

Analysis: Thomas was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in September after a number of Saints coaches tested positive for the virus. Given the star wideout was already expected to miss the first six weeks of the season while recovering from June ankle surgery, the designation shouldn't dramatically change his recovery time. Thomas is first eligible to return Oct. 25 against the Seahawks following the team's Week 6 bye.

Sep 25, 2021 2:16 PM EST


Shifts to reserve/COVID-19 list

The Saints transferred Thomas (ankle) from the reserve/PUP list Tuesday to the reserve/COVID-19 list, Field Yates of ESPN reports. He tested positive for the virus, according to Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston.

Analysis: Thomas becomes the first Saints player to go on the COVID-19 list after the Associated Press reported earlier Tuesday that six unidentified New Orleans coaching staff members and one player tested positive for the virus. Provided he doesn't experience any overly severe symptoms on the virus, Thomas' timeline for making his 2021 debut shouldn't be affected. After opening the campaign on the PUP list while recovering from June surgery on his left ankle, Thomas was already slated to miss the first six weeks of the regular season. He'll first be eligible to return Oct. 25 in Seattle following the Saints' Week 6 bye.

Sep 14, 2021 1:48 PM EST



Officially on reserve/PUP list

The Saints moved Thomas (ankle) to the reserve/PUP list Tuesday.

Analysis: As Adam Schefter of ESPN reported earlier Tuesday, Thomas landed on this reserve list, which will sideline him for at least the first six weeks of the campaign. The Saints have a bye Week 6, meaning Thomas will be eligible to return Week 7 in Seattle on Monday, Oct. 25.

Aug 31, 2021 3:52 PM EST


Likely headed for PUP list

Thomas (ankle) likely will be placed on the PUP list, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: With a four-month timeline estimate after June surgery, Thomas was a strong candidate for the PUP list all along. In this case, the move will rule him out for only five games instead of six, as the Saints have an early bye (Week 6) in 2021. Assuming this move becomes official Tuesday or Wednesday, the star wideout will be ineligible for games until Week 7 at Seattle (Oct. 25).

Aug 31, 2021 9:21 AM EST


Ahead of schedule

Coach Sean Payton said Thomas (ankle) is ahead of schedule in his rehab from June surgery, Luke Johnson of The Times-Picayune reports.

Analysis: Thomas attended the Saints' preseason opener Saturday in Baltimore, the first time reporters had seen him with the team since June minicamp. It's been an interesting summer between the delayed surgery, cryptic tweets and trade rumors, but Thomas does seem to be doing well with his rehab and has at least maintained a working relationship with the Saints for the time being. He'll still miss the early part of the regular season, with most reports earlier this summer putting his timeline at around four months after surgery in the second half of June.

Aug 16, 2021 12:51 PM EST



On trading block?

The Saints could be open to trading Thomas (ankle), Larry Holder of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Reportedly, there is tension between Thomas and the team that may stem back to Week 1 of last season when the receiver injured his ankle while the Saints were comfortably ahead of the Buccaneers halfway through the fourth quarter. Thomas then allegedly "blew off" the New Orleans medical staff this offseason before finally agreeing to undergo ankle surgery in June, which head coach Sean Payton negatively commented on in public only for Thomas to seemingly fire back on social media. While Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports recently reported that Thomas and Payton may have met to reconcile their issues and that a trade is not coming, a divorce seems inevitable in Holder's opinion, noting the Saints' past willingness to move on from players who may be a distraction in the locker room even if they have to take a financial hit to do so.

Aug 13, 2021 2:40 PM EST


Has backing of team

Saints GM Micky Loomis says the team supported Thomas' plan to treat his ankle injury with rest rather than surgery at the beginning of the offseason, John Keim of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Player and team seem to have been in agreement on a decision that ended up backfiring. Thomas apparently didn't look healthy at June minicamp, and it was decided afterward that he'd finally get surgery on the ankle that's been bothering him since Week 1 of last season. Given the timing of his ankle surgery -- which reportedly comes with a recovery estimate of four months -- Thomas likely will be out through September and perhaps into October or even November. The Saints should have open competition for roles at wide receiver, with Tre'Quan Smith the only clear starter from a group that includes Deonte Harris, Marquez Callaway, Juwan Johnson, Kawaan Baker and now Chris Hogan.

Jul 29, 2021 9:10 AM EST


Officially placed on PUP list

The Saints moved Thomas (ankle) to the preseason PUP list, Field Yates of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Thomas is expected to be sidelined into September, so this move was expected to occur for training camp. Barring an acceleration of his timeline, he could sit on the list throughout camp and the preseason and could be a candidate to open the regular season on the PUP list as well. Tre'Quan Smith figures to headline the Saints' wide receiver corps in his absence, with Deonte Harris, Marquez Callaway and newly-signed Chris Hogan potentially factoring in.

Jul 26, 2021 2:12 PM EST


Unlikely to play in September

Thomas (ankle) is expected to miss at least the first month of the upcoming season and may not be back to full strength until November or December, Larry Holder of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Numerous reports have mentioned a four-month timeline for his recovery from June ankle surgery, but injury expert Virginia Zakas told The Athletic that 24 weeks (about 5.5 months) would be ideal to reduce the odds of re-injury. Either way, Thomas appears unlikely to play in September, and he could even open the regular season on the PUP list -- which requires a six-game absence -- if the Saints aren't pleased with his rehab progress by the end of the preseason. For now, the Saints will hope to avoid that outcome, even if they also prepare for it. A signing or trade should be coming soon, considering Tre'Quan Smith is the only healthy wide receiver on the roster with more than 213 career receiving yards.

Jul 23, 2021 11:03 AM EST


Could miss start of season

ESPN.com's Mike Triplett confirms that Thomas, who underwent ankle surgery in June, could miss the start of the 2021 regular season.

Analysis: Meanwhile, based on the timing of and typical recovery period associated with the procedure to repair ligaments in Thomas' ankle, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport suggests that the Saints' star receiver "could be on the sideline for weeks" as the coming campaign opens. It remains to be seen if the team will outline a specific timetable for Thomas' return to action, but when approaching drafts and auctions fantasy managers will have to factor in the possibility that the wideout could either miss time or be hampered early on this season. With that in mind, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network relays that the Saints have been checking in on free agent wide receivers of late and are expected to work out a few in short order. Currently next up in the team's WR pecking order are Tre'Quan Smith, Deonte Harris and Marquez Callaway.

Jul 23, 2021 8:15 AM EST


Expected to miss start of season

Thomas is expected to miss the start of the season as he works his was back from ankle surgery, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Thomas was part of the Saints' June minicamp, which led to optimism that he'd be ready to go by the start of the year, but that optimism was apparently misplaced. The procedure, which he underwent that same month, carries a recommended recovery timeline of four months, which means Thomas may not wind up seeing the field until sometime in October.

Jul 23, 2021 7:32 AM EST


Looking good after ankle surgery

Thomas participated in June minicamp, though he continues to get scans and treatment on his surgically repaired ankle, Rod Walker of nola.com reports.

Analysis: A report in January suggested Thomas would need ankle and shoulder surgeries during the offseason, after missing nine games in 2020. Participation in June minicamp suggests he's well on his way to a Week 1 appearance, even if the Saints decide to ease him into action during training camp. The bigger question is whether Thomas will catch most of his passes from Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill this season, with the Saints hosting a job battle at QB. An offense led by Hill likely would throw fewer passes, but either way, Thomas and Alvin Kamara will be the priorities -- even more so after the team lost TE Jared Cook and WR Emmanuel Sanders in the offseason.

Jul 9, 2021 11:04 AM EST


Inevitably restructures contract

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.

Mar 13, 2021 7:37 AM EST


Likely needs multiple surgeries

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.

Jan 19, 2021 8:20 AM EST


Shockingly held without a catch

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.

Jan 17, 2021 8:41 PM EST


Scores in return

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.

Jan 10, 2021 5:31 PM EST


Comes off injured reserve

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).

Jan 9, 2021 1:29 PM EST


Designated to return

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.

Jan 6, 2021 2:15 PM EST


Likely to practice Wednesday

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.

Jan 6, 2021 8:02 AM EST


Eyeing minimum IR stint

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.

Dec 22, 2020 8:01 AM EST


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