After a disappointing 7-10 finish in 2022, the New Orleans Saints have some tangible hope for next season.
They recently signed veteran quarterback Derek Carr, giving them a significant upgrade over Jameis Winston, who was benched early last season.
Carr, running back Alvin Kamara and rookie standout wide receiver Chris Olave should give the Saints a solid threesome on offense.
The wild card is wideout Michael Thomas, who has missed most of the last three years with injuries but was a prolific receiver before that.
According to Saints reporter Nick Underhill, New Orleans is working on a contract extension to keep Thomas in town.
Update: The #Saints are working on a contract extension with WR Michael Thomas, per @nick_underhill
Thomas started only 8 out of 50 possible games the past three seasons due to injuries but caught 149 catches for 1,725 yards the last full season he played in 2019. pic.twitter.com/wlUKkaAKJg
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 9, 2023
As recently as 2019, which was Thomas’ last healthy season, he led the NFL with 1,725 receiving yards, and he had over 1,100 yards in each of his first four seasons, as well as a total of 32 touchdowns.
During that span, he made three straight Pro Bowls and was selected to the All-Pro first-team in back-to-back seasons.
He missed all but three games in 2022 with a foot injury, as well as all of the previous campaign with an ankle injury.
If he gets and stays healthy this time around and returns to form, he will supercharge a Saints offense that finished 16th in passing yards and touchdowns in 2022.
The addition of Carr has made the team the early favorite to finish first in the NFC South, a division that is considered the weakest in the NFL.
Finishing first would place New Orleans in the playoffs, a place it hasn’t been to since Drew Brees’ final season in 2020.NEXT: 1 Saints Star May Benefit Most From Derek Carr's Arrival