Their starting quarterback will miss the rest of the season due to a torn ACL in his left knee.
This development can deal a massive blow to their playoff hopes as head coach Sean Payton decides who will take over.
Meanwhile, Thomas was about to return after getting surgery in the offseason on his injured ankle.
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) November 3, 2021
Unfortunately, another complication will sideline the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year until 2022.
But with the way things are going, the Saints will keep rolling without their top wide receiver.
There might be a chance that the team might ship Thomas via trade next year.
The Saints Keep On Marching
Payton has a track record of winning despite unfavorable situations.
This season is no different as the Saints built a 5-2 record without much fanfare.
Their latest victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed their blueprint in collecting wins.
Not all heroes wear capes
Some wear a Lone Wolf Hat 🐺
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 31, 2021
First, their defense limited the defending Super Bowl champions to 27 points, five points below the Buccaneers’ per-game average.
The Saints are allowing 18.3 points per game through seven games, the fourth-best clip in the NFL.
Second, their offensive line is having success in limiting sacks and creating gaps for their running backs.
The Saints gained 152 rushing yards against the league’s top-ranked run defense, with Alvin Kamara leading the way with 61 and a touchdown.
Only Alvin Kamara could make a juggled TD look so smooth pic.twitter.com/QDQoQpVdil
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 31, 2021
Finally, they only throw when needed because they’re winning in different ways.
Factor in all those elements, and it’s easy to decipher why New Orleans remained successful without Thomas.
"I am always curious as a play caller when the announcers say 'Ya want to eat up as much time as possible and score'…well I want to know those 3 plays."
Payton with a thorough breakdown on his late-game playcalling pic.twitter.com/6d0dUjxPvn
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 1, 2021
Having him back would give opponents more problems because it opens their aerial attack.
But they’re not missing a beat despite his absence.
Appreciating Thomas’ On-Field Greatness
Aside from leading the league in receptions for two consecutive seasons, the 28-year-old receiver from Ohio State is also a three-time Pro Bowler.
Thomas was also a First-Team All-Pro in 2018 and 2019, wherein he had 1,405 and 1,725 receiving yards, respectively.
It was only last season that the California native did not finish with over 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 22, 2019
Thomas had 1,137 yards on just 92 receptions during his rookie year and 1,245 a year later.
He has 510 receptions, 32 touchdowns, and an 11.7 yards per catch average through five NFL seasons.
Will The Saints Trade Him?
Their recent success increases the probability of dealing Thomas to another team.
They did not initiate a trade before this season’s deadline because there was a chance that he would play.
However, their last 10 games will be critical in finalizing the front office’s decision.
Thomas’ value to the Saints will diminish if the Saints keep on winning to clinch a postseason spot.
FROM @GMFB: #Saints WR Michael Thomas has a new issue with his ankle that necessitated an appointment with a specialist recently, sources say. His return date off the PUP list is unpredictable. This is why New Orleans tried to trade for a WR yesterday. pic.twitter.com/dJNXlr3YH3
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 3, 2021
That scenario will probably put him on the trading block, mainly because his $15.35 million base salary for 2022 eats up much of the team’s cap space.
The Saints can use the additional money to sign Winston to a long-term deal after 2021.
More importantly, they can get more draft capital for Thomas because teams will line up to get a player of his caliber.
Beyond monetary reasons, New Orleans might bid farewell to him because both parties have not been on good terms over the last two seasons.
The team expressed frustration toward his delayed surgery because he thought that his injury would heal naturally.
Do the Saints shock everyone and trade Michael Thomas in a blockbuster trade today?🤔
— Big Easy Bets🎙 (@BigEasyBets) November 2, 2021
There’s also that punching incident last season that suspended Thomas for one game.
Weirdly, there might be no vote of confidence for him within the Saints’ locker room anymore.
The team is better off without him because they can play without unnecessary drama.NEXT: Saints Have A Difficult QB Decision To Make Going Forward