Chris Olave

Saints WR Michael Thomas Arrested

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas was arrested last night and charged with simple battery and criminal mischief, per the Kenner, Louisiana police department (via Travers Mackel of WDSU in New Orleans). Thomas was booked and subsequently released. Nick Underhill of NOF Network first reported on the incident last night.

ESPN’s Katherine Terrell provided more insight on what led to Thomas’ arrest. Neighbors reportedly called the police on the NFL veteran after he became increasingly angry with contractors who were parking on his street. The alleged victim claims that Thomas threw a brick at their car, and they also accused Thomas of throwing their phone after they started recording. The police report indicates that Thomas also shoved the victim.

According to Underhill, no car windows were damaged and the phone was not broken. Thomas reportedly asked the contractors to move their cars throughout the week, leading to yesterday’s incident.

“We aware of the incident and are gathering information,” the Saints said in a statement (via Underhill). The wide receiver is expected to play tomorrow against the Vikings, per Underhill.

As Greg Auman of FOX Sports notes, the misdemeanor charges means Thomas will likely face fines and/or probation. The wideout could realistically face punishment from the NFL under their personal conduct policy.

After getting into only 10 games between the 2020 and 2022 seasons, Thomas will be playing in his 10th game of the 2023 campaign tomorrow. Despite being back to full health, the receiver hasn’t come close to matching his All-Pro production from 2018 and 2019. In nine games (six starts), the veteran has hauled in 38 catches for 439 yards and one touchdown.

This is the second time in less than three weeks that a Saints receiver has been arrested. In late October, Chris Olave was arrested in Kenner for reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

NFC South Rumors: Alford, Mays, Saints

In January 2022, the Falcons signed cornerback Dee Alford out of the Canadian Football League to a reserve/futures contract. A year and a half later, Alford could be pushing for a starting role, according to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.

After going undrafted out of Tusculum, Alford signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL in 2020 but didn’t get to play after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the season. When the team returned in 2021, Alford won a starting job and helped lead the Bombers to their second consecutive Grey Cup title.

Following his signing in the offseason, Alford defied the odds by making the 53-man roster. Alford served as a depth piece in the Falcons secondary for much of the year but did come up with a few big plays. In a Week 2 loss to the Rams, Alford gained his team two points with a safety. Two weeks later, he recorded a game-clinching interception over the Browns.

According to Rothstein, Alford has been rising in the offseason for Atlanta. In spring practices, Alford reportedly “took the vast majority of first-team reps at slot (cornerback).” Mike Hughes was the presumed starter at nickelback heading into the offseason, but Alford is making himself hard to ignore as he pushes for a starting role.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of the NFC South:

  • A sixth-round pick for the Panthers last year, Cade Mays may find himself in a bit of a larger role than last year to start the 2023 season, according to Joseph Person of The Athletic. With starting right guard Austin Corbett still recovering from an ACL repair surgery, Mays has reportedly stepped up this offseason. While his rookie year saw him block out of the backfield in short-yardage situations, Mays is in line to begin the season as a starter at right guard for Carolina.
  • The Saints are no strangers to injuries in the past few years. They are feeling it the worst this season in the wide receiving corps, where we got some recent updates from Terrin Waack of Michael Thomas‘s woes continued thanks to toe surgery that landed him on injured reserve last year. He’s “slowly but surely” working his way back but is, reportedly, “still not full-go.” Last year’s rookie sensation Chris Olave missed the end of minicamp with an inflamed Achilles tendon but is expected to be okay. The other rookie from last year, Rashid Shaheed, suffered a groin injury in organized team activities that held him out of minicamp. He’s also expected to be fine by the time camp rolls around.

Saints CB Marshon Lattimore Closer To Return, WR Jarvis Landry To IR

The Saints revealed some good and bad news on the injury front today. Coach Dennis Allen told reporters that cornerback Marshon Lattimore continues to progress, per Mike Triplett of NewOrleans.Football (on Twitter). However, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reveals (on Twitter) that wideout Jarvis Landry is heading to injured reserve.

Lattimore has been sidelined since October after suffering a lacerated kidney. The Pro Bowler has missed nine games with the injury, but Allen told reporters that the defensive back is “as close as he’s been” to returning to the field. The Saints will continue to monitor Lattimore, and while it sounds like he’ll be back before long, there’s no guarantee that he’ll play against the Browns this weekend.

Landry suffered an ankle injury that limited him to only 19 offensive snaps in Week 15. An ankle injury also forced the veteran wideout to miss most of October and a bit of November. With his placement on IR, Landry wouldn’t be allowed to return to the Saints until the postseason.

Landry hasn’t put up big numbers during his first season in New Orleans, hauling in 25 receptions for 272 yards and one touchdown. Still, when he’s been active, he’s played at least half of the Saints offensive snaps, and he’s effectively served as the team’s WR2 behind rookie Chris Olave.

The veteran’s placement on IR is poor timing for the Saints, as Olave has also been ruled out this weekend with a hamstring injury. Tre’Quan Smith will likely lead the depth chart, with Rashid Shaheed and Marquez Callaway also soaking up snaps.

Week 5 Injury Roundup: Mayfield, Hill, Williams, Concussions

The Panthers’ losing streak continued yesterday, leading to questions not only about head coach Matt Rhule‘s job security, but also Baker Mayfield‘s hold on the No. 1 quarterback job. Performance may not affect the ability of the latter to suit up for Week 6, however, as he was seen in a walking boot after the team’s loss to the 49ers.

“A little painful right now,” he said when asked about the injury to his left foot. “I’m not real sure exactly what it is. We’ll examine that tomorrow and find out. So right now I’m managing the pain and learning to step in the boot.”

Mayfield will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, per Ellis Williams of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). With Sam Darnold still on the mend from the ankle injury he sustained in the preseason, and rookie Matt Corral out for the season, the Panthers would turn to P.J. Walker should Mayfield miss any time. The former XFLer game into last night’s contest for Carolina’s final possession, as Mayfield was suffering from the effects of the injury and the score was out of reach.

Here are some other injury updates following the league’s Week 5 action:

  • Tyreek Hill was also seen in a walking boot following Miami’s loss to the Jets (Twitter link via ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques). Head coach Mike McDaniel said that he was stepped on late in the contest, leaving his Week 6 availability in the air. Hill has been exactly what the Dolphins paid for (in draft capital and financial commitments) so far, with 38 catches for 528 yards and two touchdowns. His average of just under 105 receiving yards per game is the highest of his career, so any absence would be significant for the team’s offense.
  • The Ravens’ defense delivered a noteworthy performance last night against the Bengals, but lost a key member of the unit along the way. Head coach John Harbaugh said after the game that safety Marcus Williams dislocated his wrist, and will miss a “significant” amount of time as a result. That will deal a major blow to Baltimore’s secondary, as the high-priced free agent signing has been productive this season with three interceptions and five pass deflections.
  • While Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater earned the unwanted distinction of becoming the league’s first player to be removed via the new concussion protocols yesterday, he was not alone in that regard. Per team announcements, Saints wideout Chris Olave, Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth and Browns cornerback Denzel Ward were each ruled out of their teams’ respective games with concussions. Under the new regulations, it has been acknowledged, some players will be removed from games and not allowed to return despite passing initial checks for concussion symptoms.
  • Going back to the TNF contest which kicked off Week 5, the Broncos’ injury woes continue. Long snapper Jacob Bobenmoyer will miss “extended time” after suffering an injury to the hand/wrist area, 9News’ Mike Klis tweets. Losing the 25-year-old for the foreseeable future will add to the league-leading 12 players the Broncos already have on IR, which have no doubt contributed to the team’s underwhelming start to the season.

Saints Agree To Terms With First-Rounders Chris Olave, Trevor Penning

Friday has seen each of the Saints’ first round picks from this past draft sign their rookie contracts. New Orleans has reached an agreement with both receiver Chris Olave and offensive tackle Trevor Penning

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter details (on Twitter), the deal for Olave is worth just over $19.27MM. The Ohio State alum put up consistent production over the course of his four seasons there. He was the team’s leading receiver in 2019 and 2020, but his best individual season came this past campaign.

Over the course of 11 games, Olave totalled 65 catches for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns. While those figures were eclipsed by 10th overall pick Garrett Wilson and phenom sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba, they represented his ability to produce despite a heated competition for targets. Given the Saints’ lack of receiving options, Olave was named as a candidate for the team to consider, so there was little surprise when the team traded up to select him at No. 11.

Penning, meanwhile, had already agreed to terms on his rookie contract before the Olave deal was announced (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). The Northern Iowa blocker showcased an appealing combination of size, length and athleticism throughout his time there, earning stellar PFF grades along the way. He held up against higher-quality competition at the Senior Bowl, confirming his status as a first-rounder. Predictably going later than Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu and Charles Cross, Penning was the fourth tackle off the board, landing at 19th overall.

Given the concerns related to his level of competition, as well as discipline, the six-foot-seven, 325-pounder might not be able to occupy the left tackle spot vacated by Terron Armstead right away. He is nevertheless viewed as a candidate to do so at least down the road, which would make him, like Olave, a pick aimed at filling glaring roster holes on Day 1. Penning will earn $14.1MM on his pact, per Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson (Twitter link).

Saints Move Up To Select Chris Olave At No. 11

The Saints traded the Commanders their No. 16, 98, and 120 picks to move up in the 2022 NFL Draft and take Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave at No. 11 overall. 

In four years with the Buckeyes, Olave put up consistent receiving numbers despite a healthy competition for targets. In his final three campaigns, he totaled 163 receptions for 2,505 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Olave led the team in 2019 and 2020 before seeing his production out-matched by teammate and fellow first-round draft pick Garrett Wilson. Both receivers were out-produced by sophomore receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, though.

Still, Olave displayed consistency, talent, and leadership through his time in Columbus. He’ll head down to New Orleans to help the Saints compete in the NFC South.

Commanders Locked In On WR In Round 1?

Having deployed a Terry McLaurin-dependent receiving corps for the past three years, Washington appears determined to find help for its top target in this draft.

The Commanders are “all in” on finding another receiver, per Todd McShay of, and this interest points to an investment with their No. 11 overall pick. This follows a report indicating the Commanders have indeed done extensive homework at the position. As to which wideout the team is targeting, it might be down to two.

[RELATED: Commanders Expect To Complete McLaurin Extension]

USC’s Drake London and Ohio State’s Chris Olave loom as potential targets, with McShay indicating the Commanders’ preference is viewed differently by various GMs around the league. The two wideouts went through “30” visits with the Commanders during the pre-draft process. They supply differing skillsets, with the 6-foot-3 London an outside threat and the 6-foot Olave a shiftier target in the McLaurin mold. Olave, who played four seasons with the Buckeyes, was McLaurin’s teammate as a freshman in 2018.

Commanders GM Martin Mayhew has called around about first-round trades in recent days, via the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala (on Twitter), indicating some interest exists in moving up or down. While such dialogue is expected ahead of every draft, the Commanders being locked in on one wideout may require a move up the board. Otherwise, the team would seem set to land one of this draft’s top pass catchers at 11.

A first-round receiver pick would give Washington a few notable investments alongside McLaurin. Although Curtis Samuel battled injuries last season, Washington gave him a three-year, $34.5MM deal. The team also drafted Dyami Brown in Round 3 last year. Still, a familiar statistical gap — one that featured McLaurin’s yardage total (1,053) nearly 700 north of any other Washington wideout — emerged in 2021, likely heightening the importance of the Commanders adding more help here.

Chiefs, Cardinals Targeting First-Round WRs

The back half of Thursday night’s first round has plenty of uncertainty, keeping in line with the overall theme of this year’s class. Two of the teams in that range whose intentions are clear, according to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, are the Chiefs and Cardinals; each, he reports, are targeting wide receivers. 

Kansas City has been named as a team looking for replenishments in their pass-catching corps since the Tyreek Hill trade. While they have signed J.J. Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, many have pointed to a receiver being a priority with one of their two Dat 1 selections (Nos. 29 and 30). As Pauline also noted recently, the team is high on Minnesota edge rusher Boye Mafe, whom many believe Kansas City will select with one of those picks.

As for the other, the Chiefs have frequently been connected to trade-up scenarios resulting in a top wideout becoming the pick. Given his speed, Jameson Williams is often touted as the team’s target in such a circumstance, but Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are other options under consideration as well. Given the rankings of those three not only amongst the other top wideouts, but the rest of the class as a whole, it is highly unlikely Kansas City will be able to wait to select any of them at the tail end of Day 1.

A trade could very well be needed for the Cardinals as well if they wish to add a top pass-catcher. The team’s vacancy comes from Christian Kirk‘s free agency departure, meaning they could stand to add a starting-level player Thursday night. Since it is expected Williams, Wilson and Drake London – at a minimum – will be off the board by the time Arizona picks 23rd overall, Olave and Treylon Burks are more realistic targets at their current slot. The Cardinals hosted the latter, signalling at least a degree of interest in the Arkansas alum. Pauline points to offensive line as another position to target if they avoid a wideout.

Much of the chatter in the build-up to Thursday night is dominated by the top of the board, of course, but the actions of teams like these two will be worth watching as the WR board shakes out throughout the opening round.

Draft Rumors: Panthers, Penning, Commanders

Throughout the offseason, the Panthers have been linked to either drafting an offensive tackle or a quarterback. Carolina’s draft position is intriguing as they hold the sixth overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft and then, barring any trades, won’t make another selection until the 137th pick at the end of the fourth round.

While the options are plentiful in this year’s Draft, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reports that other teams in the league are convinced that Carolina will select a quarterback this Thursday. Breer thinks the Panthers would prefer to trade down, exchanging their high pick for some draft capital to close the gap to their second pick, but points out that teams just don’t seem to be dying to trade up for any position or player this year.

Here are a few more rumors leading up to the Draft this Thursday, starting with a prospect out of Cedar Falls:

  • Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning visited with the Titans this week, according to Matt Miller of ESPN. Tennessee has been rumored to be looking at addressing the offensive line this upcoming Thursday. The Titans return Ben Jones at center, Nate Davis at guard, Taylor Lewan at tackle, and brought in Jamarco Jones from Seattle to fill in at the other guard position. They also return backups in Dillon Radunz, Corey Levin, and Aaron Brewer. Radunz is probably who they hope will fill in opposite Lewan at tackle, but he failed to catch on in a rookie year that presented him with plenty of opportunities. Drafting Penning will either light a fire under Radunz and kick him into gear or provide the Titans with a secondary option to start at tackle.
  • In the article linked above, Breer addressed the Commanders’ approach to their 11th overall pick and pointed out that Washington has diligently done their homework on the wide receivers in this year’s class. After star receiver Terry McLaurin, Washington’s top receivers were running backs J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson, followed by now free agent wide receiver Adam Humphries. Pairing another talented pass-catcher with McLaurin is a must if they want newly acquired quarterback Carson Wentz to succeed in DC. So who does Breer predict the Commanders will select to place opposite McLaurin: none other than McLaurin’s former Ohio State teammate, Chris Olave.

Jets Interested In Jameson Williams?

Involved in the Tyreek Hill and Amari Cooper trade talks, the Jets acquired neither. They have since been linked to D.K. Metcalf, having discussed the fourth-year wideout with the Seahawks. Those talks were not believed to have been substantial.

This points the Jets to a receiver in a draft featuring several ready-made contributors but one appearing to lack the top-end talent of last year’s class. It is not certain which of this year’s receiver crop will be the first to go off the board, but the Jets are believed to be interested in Alabama’s Jameson Williams, a source informed’s Rich Cimini. While the Jets are continuing to monitor the potential availability of Metcalf and 49ers wideout Deebo Samuel, Cimini notes, they will continue to be connected to using one of their first-round picks on this position.

The Jets-Williams connection comes shortly after a report indicating the Alabama receiver, despite the ACL tear he suffered in the national championship game, is moving toward being a top-10 pick. With linemen and defensive backs atop draft boards, it is possible the Jets would have their pick of the top wideout in this draft. The Jets hold the Nos. 4 and 10 picks in this year’s draft, and even taking their persistent receiver interest into account, it would surprise if the team used that No. 4 choice on one.

Williams’ tear is not likely to cost him much in this draft, with ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. noting a rise into the top 10 is not out of the question. The Jets have Corey Davis, the recently re-signed Braxton Berrios and second-rounders Elijah Moore and Denzel Mims. While Mims has not come especially close to justifying his draft slot, helping lead the team to this wideout-needy place, the Jets have some options at the position. They also have two picks atop the second round (Nos. 35 and 38, the latter coming via the Sam Darnold trade), should Joe Douglas and Co. opt to address other needs in Round 1. The Jets have not drafted a wideout in the first round since Santana Moss in 2001.

Prior to his knee injury, Williams broke through after transferring from Ohio State to Alabama. The 179-pound pass catcher posted a 79-catch, 1,572-yard, 15-touchdown season to help Bryce Young to the Heisman Trophy. Should he regain that form post-surgery, Williams would provide a tremendous speed injection to whichever offense he joins. ESPN gives he, ex-Buckeyes teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, and USC’s Drake London top-20 grades among this draft’s receiver class. The Jets have met with Wilson, Olave and London, Cimini adds.