Jaguars may have trouble trading for Saints WR Michael Thomas

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas #13 (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas #13 (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to bolster their wide receiver corps this offseason, and if there aren’t any options to their liking in free agency or the draft, they could work the phone and see who’s available. New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas has previously been the subject of trade talks, so he could be someone the Jags are interested in.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report recently drew up a list of ideal offseason trade scenarios for every NFL team and he believes the Jaguars and Thomas are a good match. Ballentine argues that Jacksonville needs to give Trevor Lawrence better weapons and they can easily take on the All-Pro wide receiver’s contract. Moreover, he thinks Thomas can still be a game-changer even though he missed the 2021 season and played in only seven games the year before.

"Michael Thomas represents a potential high-risk, high-reward acquisition. He still has three years left on his contract with each season carrying a cap hit around $25 million. That’s a lot of money for a player who only played seven games in 2020 then missed all of 2021 with an ankle injury.  The Jaguars are in a position where the risk is worth it. They have the third-most cap space in the league, a new coaching staff that will look for immediate improvement and a long way to go in catching up to the Titans and Colts in the AFC South. If Thomas is healthy, he could still be a top-10 receiver in the league. The opportunity to add that kind of playmaker would be a big step in the right direction—both for the team and Lawrence."

A second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Thomas was one of the most dominant wide receivers in his first four seasons, catching 470 passes for 5,512 yards and 32 catches. Moreover, he set the single-season receiving record in 2019 with 149. However, he suffered ankle and hamstring injuries the following year and ended up missing nine games. Thomas ended up getting ankle surgery last July and sat out the 2021 season. His team wasn’t pleased with his decision to put off the procedure and by all appearances, it looked like their relationship soured, which triggered talks about a potential trade.

The Jaguars could have better options than Michael Thomas.

There’s a good chance Thomas will make a full recovery. The timing of his surgery might not have been the best and he’s had a few setbacks but he should be fully healthy for the 2022 season. And precisely because of that, the Saints may not be interested in parting ways with him. New Orleans is in need of cap space but trading or releasing the wide receiver would only free up $2 million in cap room and would leave a dead-money hit of $22 million. Looking at it from a financial standpoint, it simply doesn’t make sense.

Also, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Super Bowl live that the Saints aren’t planning on trading Thomas and added that both parties have stayed in touch. Last, there’s the fact the Saints will probably have a new starting quarterback in 2022, and they will want whoever ends up taking snaps under center to have weapons.

Things could change at any moment but right in the Jaguars’ best bet may be to trade for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper or wait for him to be released. Also, they could arrange a reunion with a familiar face in Allen Robinson or use an early-round selection on the position.

While a trade for Tomas shouldn’t rule out, it doesn’t look like a realistic option at this moment and the Jaguars may have better alternatives to bolster their wide receiver corps this offseason.

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