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What if the Saints Move on from Michael Thomas?

Michael Thomas has had a contract restructuring but he still remains on rocky water, what would the Saints offense look like without him? Andrew Harbaugh examines just that and has an emerging star in it all.

While it has proven to be a complicated relationship, it remains a fruitful one between Michael Thomas and the New Orleans Saints. Rumors circled this offseason that they would move on from the former Buckeye, but they didn’t.

What they ended up doing instead was restructuring his previous extension of five years, $95 million. While that seemed to quell the murky waters that were their relationship, the Saints went and got an insurance policy. That insurance policy also hails from Columbus, Ohio, and came in the form of first-round pick Chris Olave.

The Saints are going through some changes, and Thomas still may be a part of them. If not now, later.

When they restructured his contract, they couldn’t cut bait or trade him this year. If they did make that horrible decision, they would be down $38 million, for a team with constant cap issues that makes no sense. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel where post-June 1st, 2023, they could save nearly $17 million of his salary. 

It seems a move is happening, not now, but what would be the results of said change? The ripple effect is wider than you would imagine.

Chris Olave Becomes a Top Ten Dynasty Wide Receiver 

Long-term, we have no idea what the QB situation will be like in New Orleans. We do have a good understanding of what Chris Olave can be. His blend of speed and route running should allow him to find success in any offense led by any QB.

The departure of Thomas, though, would free up a gigantic amount of targets. During his previous four healthy seasons, Thomas was averaging 140 targets seasons capped off by a whopping 185 in his record-breaking 2019 season. If Olave can get anywhere around his average, we are probably looking at 110+ catches a season. That production would have us looking at a top ten dynasty wide receiver for the foreseeable future.

Michael Thomas Becomes Landing Spot Dependent 

Now for the man of the hour, Thomas gets put in a blender of sorts regarding what could be next. With his skill set, he would instantly upgrade nearly every offense he would be plugged into. A couple of teams that stick out to me personally are the New York Jets and the San Francisco 49ers. 

The Jets have made no qualms about wanting to upgrade the receiver position. Thomas, with his contract, would have to be a much cheaper option than either Deebo Samuel or Tyreek Hill. As for San Francisco, if they lose Samuel, then Thomas could be valuable to them. He wouldn’t be able to do what Samuel did in his role, but he could certainly help out whoever is under center to keep the 49ers afloat.

Alvin Kamara’s Workload Increases

It is crazy to imagine, but as we mentioned earlier, Thomas is a target machine in the Saints’ offense. His average of 140 we said was going to have 110 go-to Olave, but imagine if we took 15 of the remaining and gave it to Alvin Kamara. Kamara has a career average of 5.1 yards per reception. If he caught those targets, you would be looking at another 75 yards and possibly another touchdown or two. 

It would be a spoiling of riches if you are a Kamara shareholder but at this point, take them. He is poised to be the center point of this Saints offense alongside Olave for the foreseeable future. Not a bad future to have despite not knowing the QB situation.

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