Saints Release WR Michael Thomas

MARCH 13: The Saints will follow through with this reported plan. Thomas is no longer on the team’s roster as of the start of the 2024 league year,’s Nick Underhill tweets. Thomas’ dead money hit will drop from $12.4MM to $11.2MM,’s Mike Triplett notes. This separation will still be expensive for the Saints, who will take on a $9.2MM hit in 2025. The Saints also cut Thomas with a failed physical designation.

Rather than Maye, the Saints are using their second post-June 1 designation on Jameis Winston. Due to another uniquely structured contract, Winston’s cap charge will drop from $4.6MM to $3.4MM on June 2, Tripplett adds. The Saints will take on $7.3MM in dead cap on the Winston deal in 2025.

MARCH 7: Michael Thomas‘ four-year run of success in the 2010s kept providing chances as his career skidded off track in the 2020s. It appears the injury-prone wide receiver will finally separate from the Saints.

New Orleans is expected to release Thomas when the new league year begins March 13,’s Jeff Duncan notes. Although Thomas participated more in games last season than he had since 2019, the former All-Pro’s run of injuries always made it likely he would not be back for the ’24 campaign.

Thomas, who turned 31 last week, missed the Saints’ final seven games due to a knee injury. This ran the former All-Pro’s missed-games count to a whopping 48 since 2020. Various injuries are responsible for this, and the most recent one paused a season in which Thomas had accumulated 39 receptions for 448 yards in 10 games. The yardage total doubles as his most since he notched an NFL-leading 1,725 during the 2019 season, which featured a still-standing NFL record of 149 catches.

That season came on the heels of the Saints giving the former second-round pick a five-year, $96.25MM extension. Thomas had run off back-to-back first-team All-Pro seasons in 2018 and ’19, helping Drew Brees remain one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks into his early 40s. But the ankle, foot and knee trouble that has thrown the Ohio State alum’s career off course in the 2020s will almost definitely lead him out of town.

This being the Saints, a complex contract structure is in place. The parties, after multiple adjustments last year, agreed to give it another try on what amounted to a $10MM payment. Thomas’ latest contract was designed to be extended or shed from the Saints’ payroll, as’s Katherine Terrell notes; the latter course will bring about a $11.2MM in dead money via a post-June 1 designation. It appears the Saints will use both their allotted post-June 1 moves this year, with Marcus Maye also set to be cut on March 13.

Thomas was also arrested on a simple battery charge last year, and Duncan adds the talented wideout gained a reputation as a difficult personality inside the Saints’ facility. While this clearly did not dissuade the Dennis Allen-led team from signing off on another reunion last year, as Thomas said he was only interested in playing for the Saints again, the parties will go their separate ways soon.

Although the Broncos are the current landing spot for ex-Saints, it will be interesting to see if Sean Payton would take a chance here. Thomas rankled the Saints by not going through with an ankle surgery early during the 2021 offseason, leading to a mid-offseason operation that delayed his return in what became Payton’s final year with the team. A setback then led to Thomas missing all of the 2021 season, leaving the Saints with a bottom-tier receiving corps. While the Broncos have some issues to sort out at receiver, Thomas would not seem a lock to reunite with Payton once the Saints officially move on. But adding a former All-Pro at a low rate could appeal to a team regrouping after what will become the most expensive release in NFL history.

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