Michael Thomas sought $22MM per year on a Saints extension, and this was a reduced demand, last month. The Saints appear to prefer their top wideout end up just shy of $20MM AAV.
The Saints, though, may be moving up gradually. Their latest offer came in between $18-$19MM AAV, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). This is consistent with what the team was offering in June, only they did not look to be close to a $19MM average at that point.
Odell Beckham Jr.‘s $18MM-AAV pact remains the league’s standard, but Julio Jones is expected to eclipse that soon. Thomas, 26, is lurking as a possible candidate to then surpass Jones as the NFL’s highest-paid wideout. A deal worth $20MM AAV, with certain structure and guarantees, would likely be enough to convince Thomas to sign, Robinson adds.
Beckham and Mike Evans pace the receiver market in total and full guarantees, with the former’s figures at $40.9MM and $65MM, respectively. Of course, Jones is almost certainly pushing to land atop both lists. Being four years younger than Jones, Thomas may be as well. The Saints and Thomas have been negotiating for more than a month. One season remains on Thomas’ rookie contract.
The former second-round pick leads the league in receptions (321) over the past three seasons and ranks fifth in yards (3,787) since the start of the 2016 season. Thomas’ 1,405 receiving yards last season broke the Saints’ single-season record.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.