The New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas go together like oil and water. There's always a discussion to be had about the superstar wideout's future in The Big Easy. Thomas is currently absent after he underwent surgery late in the offseason. Head coach Sean Payton's reaction wasn't one of happiness, and a mini-storm subsequently disarrayed the Saints building.
Could the Saints trade Michael Thomas?
In all likelihood, no. Sean Payton likes strong personalities in the dressing room. Thomas is a diva, and there is no escaping that. However, Payton and the Saints organization embrace characters like Thomas.
The Saints culture enables players like Thomas to be themselves. However, Thomas aired his frustrations regarding the situation on social media. The New Orleans Saints weren't happy about that, and they certainly won't tolerate it.
No franchise likes their dirty laundry aired out in public. The offseason row came across as nothing more than a tiff, though. Most teams have rows and disagreements throughout the season, like Kenny Golladay and Daniel Jones displayed yesterday.
Sean Payton and the Saints are an experienced organization. They should be able to sort through whatever problems Thomas has. That said, if the Saints' relationship with Thomas is in pieces, they may opt to trade him away.
The Saints could wipe out a $24.7 million cap hit by trading Thomas before the 2022 season. However, there are significant hurdles in any potential trade. The Saints are still gaming the NFL salary cap and have no intention of strictly conforming.
Secondly, Thomas' injury history is a bit troubling. A nagging ankle problem just won't go away. It impacted his 2020 season and it's affecting his 2021 season. That may deter some teams from even considering a bid.
Finally, it is difficult to foresee a situation where the Saints get exactly the offer they want. The Saints don't need to trade him, and they'll ask for significant assets in return. Many NFL franchises are hesitant to depart with draft capital, especially on players with injury and personality concerns.
As things stand, the Saints won't trade Michael Thomas. Moreover, if the Saints build on their Week 1 form, they will be legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Even if the relationship is fractured, they won't let Thomas go in that case. Will Thomas wish to leave if the Saints are in contention territory this early in the post-Drew Brees era?
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