A few years ago, Michael Thomas was the talk of the NFL. Today, Thomas almost seems to be looking for excuses to avoid the field.
This will be the second season in which he will be missing a large chunk of time. His loss could not have come at a worse time, as the Saints are still reeling from the loss of Drew Brees. How long will the receiver be out, and how long will his recovery take?
How long will Michael Thomas be out for?
Thomas is expected to miss 10-12 weeks. Luckily for the Saints, almost half of his absence will come during preseason. However, if Thomas had planned better, he would not have had to miss any time. Rumors say he knew he would need surgery early in the off-season. Instead of electing to do it early and recover during the offseason, Thomas chose to wait until the start of training camp, though.
All signs point to this being a calculated move to miss as much time as possible. Over the last year, it has been no secret Thomas has not been the happiest camper in New Orleans. It seems these troubles will come to a head at some point, likely when Thomas returns from injury. That said, when will that realistically happen?
While his official timetable has him returning around mid-season, that cannot be taken for granted. Up to this point, Thomas has had a number of return dates, but they've all fallen through.
There is nothing to suggest his latest timetable goes along the same lines . At this point, it's safe to assume he'll be back in time for the playoffs, assuming the Saints make the cut. Anything earlier seems like a risky bet, considering his injury record.
Saints sans Thomas
Without Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara will need to make up the difference again. While this is outstanding news for fantasy owners, it could shorten Kamara's stint in the NFL. With more opportunities comes more hits. Eventually, those hits stack up, and the resulting health issues usually lead to a diminished career in running backs who are in their late 20s.
Without Thomas, the Saints offense will feel much like the New York Giants' with Saquon Barkley and the Carolina Panthers' with Christian McCaffery, where the main breadwinner in offense will be the running back. Teams like the Giants and Panthers, who rely on their running backs too much, usually struggle, though.
In 2018 and 2019, the Giants won only nine cumulative games. Also, the 2018 and 2019 Carolina Panthers won 12 games in total over two seasons. Both teams also had their star running back missing most of 2020.
In other words, teams that rely on their running back too much tend to struggle. Will the Saints continue the same trend?