NFL: Saints WR Michael Thomas restructures deal to help free up cap space

San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints
Modified 15 Mar 2021

Some good news coming out of New Orleans: Saints wide receiver and 2019 Offensive Player of the Year, Michael Thomas, agreed to restructure his contract on Friday.

Thomas signed a five-year, $96-million (+ plus add ons) contract extension in 2019 and had restructured his original deal just last season to help free up cap room. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that this latest restructuring of Thomas' contract should create a further $8.7 million in salary-cap space, per sources.

NFL: What is Michael Thomas's new contract with the Saints?

Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints
Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints

With this new deal, Thomas' stands to earn $10.1 million in salary in 2021, down from some $18 million, which would have made him the highest earner on the Saints' roster. To do this, the Saints converted a large portion of his $12.6 million base salary, preexisting bonuses, a $200,000 workout bonus, and $6 million from his original signing bonus, into a new signing bonus.

The restructuring will of course lead to increased cap hits in the future for the Saints, but it does offer Michael Thomas better job security in the long term, with the Saints now unable to get him off the books until 2023 at the earliest.

The analysts had it wrong: Michael Thomas will absolutely not be getting traded to help free up cap space

New Orleans Saints v Tennessee Titans
New Orleans Saints v Tennessee Titans

With Thomas biting the bullet and agreeing to terms on a new deal for the second time in just two years, it seems his bond with the Saints organization is set to continue in the long term, which is good news for a shellshocked Saints fanbase coming off the back of what was a rough week (for us all).

Both during and following a lackluster 2020 campaign for Thomas (his worst in the Big Easy to date: 7 games; 438-yards), numerous trade rumors had been in circulation regarding the future of the former Ohio State Buckeye. The contract restructure puts an end to all the speculation. Michael Thomas will remain with the Saints for at least the next two seasons and likely beyond.

The renegotiation is a further boost to a Saints war room determined to get its franchise back under the salary cap in time for the beginning of the new league year, starting March 17. At one point the Saints were $60 million over the salary cap. The restructuring of Thomas' and Taysom Hill's contracts, along with the retirement of legendary franchise-quarterback Drew Brees, sees today's most-recent estimate at somewhere between $5-10 million over the cap, as per sources.

The Saints' number 13 took to Twitter last night (seen above) to express his thanks to retiring QB Drew Brees, too (grab some tissues if you are planning on reading it).

Published 15 Mar 2021
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