No matter how much success a team or player has, the winds of change are always brewing in the NFL.
After five seasons with the New Orleans Saints, it appears there is some serious tension between the franchise and Michael Thomas.
It reportedly stems from Thomas opting for rest and rehab rather than undergoing surgery to repair an ankle injury.
Payton says that the Michael Thomas surgery should have happened sooner than it did.
"I'm going to leave it at that."
— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) July 28, 2021
Now, after undergoing the surgery, Thomas was placed on the PUP list.
If he remains on the PUP heading into Week 1, he will be forced to miss the first six weeks of the season.
No matter how long Thomas is out for, it appears he has some ongoing beef with the Saints.
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) August 9, 2021
Thomas is one of the best wide receivers in the league, being named to the Pro Bowl three times and All-Pro team twice.
He was the 2019 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Overall, throughout his career, Thomas has caught 510 passes for 5,950 yards and 32 touchdowns.
It still seems unlikely that the Saints would trade Thomas, but if this tension continues to boil over, there needs to be a solution.
If that solution can’t happen amicably and Thomas requests a trade, these teams would be at the front of the line for his services.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars may seem like an odd fit as the team is rebuilding and should be looking to hold on to all their draft capital.
However, if Thomas truly is traded, there may not be a better location than the Jaguars.
First and foremost, reports have stated that the Jags are willing to trade cornerback C.J. Henderson, who they selected ninth overall in last year’s draft.
A surprise: Multiple team execs believe #Jaguars corner C.J. Henderson — the ninth overall pick in 2020 — is available via trade. Jacksonville has given impression in some league circles that it's shopping Henderson, a high-pedigree player one year into rookie deal.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 8, 2021
One team he has been linked to?
No surprise here, but the Saints are exploring available options in the trade market for a cornerback, including C.J. Henderson of the Jaguars. Stay tuned.
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) August 9, 2021
It seems a bit shocking that the Jags would deal Henderson after just one season.
However, if they do follow through with it, they may not get better value than Thomas.
Chark (24) and Shenault (22) have flashed talent at times and are still young enough to become difference-makers at wide receiver in Jacksonville.
Jones was signed this offseason after five years with the Detroit Lions and looks poised for a big role in the offense.
While receiver might not be Jacksonville’s biggest need, adding a player of Thomas’ caliber would be a major boost for the offense.
As a bonus, new Jacksonville head coach Urban Myer was Thomas’ head coach when he was at Ohio State.
The Jaguars have the means of acquiring Thomas and a coach who knows how to use him.
This would be quite the splash to start the Trevor Lawrence era in Jacksonville.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are entering a brand new era after trading quarterback Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts.
Former second-round pick Jalen Hurts now looks poised to be Philadelphia’s new starting quarterback.
In terms of wide receiver, the Eagles have spent first-round picks at wide receiver in the past two drafts.
They selected Jalen Reagor at No. 21 in the 2020 NFL Draft and DeVonta Smith at No. 10 in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Reagor and Smith should both be the starters for the Eagles.
Joining them is Greg Ward Jr., who is entering his third year with Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is counting on all three to step up and help lead the offense with Hurts.
However, landing a bona fide stud receiver in Thomas would completely revitalize the Eagles’ offense.
After missing out on Jones, Thomas would be the big body receiver Philadelphia has been looking for for years.
The NFC East is a wide open race this season.
Adding a play-maker like Thomas could make that race the Eagles to win.
1. Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders have been in a bit of a purgatory lately.
They haven’t made the playoffs since 2016.
However, they have looked promising the last few seasons going 7-9 in 2019 and 8-8 in 2020.
It always seems like quarterback Derek Carr is close to leading the Raiders back into the postseason.
With help from Thomas, Las Vegas can end their drought.
Ruggs was the first overall wide receiver taken in last year’s draft at No. 10 overall.
He is one of the fastest players in the league, but disappointing as a rookie catching just 26 passes for 452 yards and two scores.
Edwards was a third-round pick of the Raiders in 2020.
As a rookie, he caught just 11 passes for 193 yards and one score.
While both struggled as rookies, Ruggs and Edwards have reportedly made a strong impression in training camp and will be asked to carry a bigger load in 2021.
#Raiders’ Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards making big strides at training camp
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) August 4, 2021
Renfrow has made a decent career from himself, catching 105 passes for 1,261 yards and six touchdowns while the Raiders added former Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown this offseason.
All of these players have potential and could someday be stud wide receivers in the NFL.
However, Thomas is a stud wide receiver right now.
Head coach Jon Gruden and Carr need to win to prove they belong on the Raiders.
Adding a guy in Thomas would catapult Las Vegas’ offensive attack and could help catapult the Raiders back into the postseason.NEXT: What Jordan Love Must Prove To Packers In Preseason