The Pro Bowl wide receiver is still recovering from surgery on his left ankle and is wearing a boot for protection.
That’s a nice sign for both sides after months of tension and trade rumors.
Emotions boiled over as Thomas and the Saints aired their frustration toward each other.
Thomas expressed himself through cryptic updates on Twitter regarding head coach Sean Payton’s latest comment about his injury.
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) August 9, 2021
When asked about Thomas’ decision to delay surgery, Peyton vented out his disappointment that the treatment should have happened earlier.
How The Thomas, New Orleans Tension Blew Up
It boils down to how Thomas dealt with his ankle injury which he incurred in Week 1 of the 2020 season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He could have undergone surgery then but delayed it to contend for a championship in what turned out to be Drew Brees’ final season.
Thomas had the opportunity to get treatment in January after the Saints lost to the Buccaneers in the Divisional Round.
However, he opted to take a second opinion and the doctor declared that his injury can heal without surgery.
Come June, the progress that Thomas hoped sans the surgery didn’t happen and he had to go under the knife at once.
The delay will cause him to miss the first part of the 2021 season.
But even if he will be sidelined for a while, the Saints know how vital Thomas is in their campaign.
“Can’t Guard Mike” Changes Their Offense
Before discussing the merits of having Thomas on the roster, trading him will create more salary cap woes for the Saints.
His restructured contract means that he will count for $32.6 million in dead money next season.
That’s an expense that the Saints cannot afford, especially if they are to remain competitive even in their own division.
But putting the drama aside, having Thomas will be the team’s best chance of making a playoff push.
Prior to his injury-plagued 2020 season, he is a three-time Pro Bowler and set an NFL single-season record of 149 receptions in 2019.
He also led the league in receiving yards that year with 1,725, to go with nine touchdowns.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 22, 2019
Therefore, he is still their best option to make big plays downfield.
Tre’Quan Smith is proving to be a good receiver, but he’ll be better off lining up with Thomas who can attract multiple defenders on every play.
When that happens, he becomes a decoy to free up other targets.
Having a deep ball threat will be vital for the Saints as they transition from Brees to Jameis Winston.
The former Tampa Bay starter has the arm strength to unleash long throws.
But he will have more confidence in making those passes with Thomas as his receiver.
Keeping Thomas also opens the field for Alvin Kamara to dominate, especially if the receiver gets going.
Winston can just vary their attack because he has two talented weapons who will make a play no matter what.
Take away Thomas and their options are limited.
Here’s to hoping that his appearance on the sideline is an indication of reconciliation.
They can’t afford any conflict in the building if they are to make a postseason return.
To borrow a Jerry Maguire quote, the Saints need Thomas and vice-versa.