In the depths of the off-season, it’s usually quarterback contracts that set NFL discourse aflame. This year, sure enough there are those, what with the looming Dak Prescott-Cowboys deal and the freakout sure to follow. But every so often a non-QB makes an intriguing case. Right now, that’s Saints receiver Michael Thomas.
Thomas, who in three seasons with New Orleans has been to the Pro Bowl twice and posted 1,000 yards three times, is reportedly seeking $22 million a year. That would make him the highest-paid receiver in the league and the only making more than $20 million per. At $18 million a year, the Browns' Odell Beckham makes the most.
It’s true that the annual cry over ballooning salaries has to do with people who either don’t realize or willfully ignore that the price always goes up for top talent. The most recent deal for whoever is at or near the top of his position is likely to become highest paid. It might be easy to forget since he was inexplicably traded after signing it, but Beckham’s latest deal was only signed a year ago.
So Thomas, who holds the NFL record for most receptions by a player through his first three seasons (321), is talking about a roughly 11 percent increase over Beckham’s deal, significant for any year-to-year jump in the top earning spot. If Thomas can get it, more power to him, and the second-round pick certainly has shown the productivity on the field needed to even make this request. New Orleans is said to be amenable to giving Thomas big money, even more than Beckham, but perhaps not quite as much more than Beckham as Thomas would like.