The New England Patriots are going to make a splash this offseason. You can feel it, but no one knows precisely what Bill Belichick will throw into the pool to cause the effect.
There is a lot of talks about which quarterback the team will have at the helm. Still, unless Belichick is going to fill the spot with a trade, a draft pick, or set to turn back to Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham as the starter, he’s going to need to bring in some weapons before he finds his quarterback.
Free-agent signal-callers who have their share of suitors aren’t likely to fancy the Patriots over teams with more proven receivers on the roster. Most experts seem to understand this, and that’s likely why NFL insider Albert Breer dropped the possibility of the Patriots seeking a trade for 2-time All-Pro and record-setting New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas.
Breer told NBC Sports Boston:
I’m gonna give you a guys a fun name that might be a little shooting high, or whatever, but the Saints have huge, huge cap problems. They figure to $60 or $70 million over the cap. So how about trading for Michael Thomas? If you wanna solve your receiver issue once and for all, you may have to give up a second or a third-round pick to go and get him, but a lot of the bonus money is already paid out. So you’d be able to get him at a discounted rate for a No. 1 receiver. I think culturally, he fits in. He’s tough; he’s competitive. He’s a little bit of a weird personality, but I certainly think that if you wanted to resolve your issue of not having a No. 1 receiver once and for all, I think Michael Thomas, stylistically as a receiver, is exactly what the Patriots would be looking for.
Here is a look at the video segment.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) February 13, 2021
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Thomas’ Production in 2020
For the first time in Thomas’ career, injuries tore apart his season.
In those seven games, Thomas had just 40 receptions for 438 yards and no TDs. That was a far cry from the production he’d generated in 2018 and 2019 when he led the NFL in receptions with 125 and 149 catches, respectively.
The 2019 totals set an NFL single-season record for receptions, and he also paced the league with 1,725 receiving yards that year.
Thomas reportedly had surgery last month to repair some of the injuries he absorbed this past season, and he’s still only 27 years old. While nothing is guaranteed, there is at least some reasonable hope that he can return to form after an offseason of rehab.
Worth the Cost?
If Breer’s suggested asking price is accurate, and the Saints are in a position where they believe trading their star receiver is necessary, the Patriots would be crazy not to send a second or third-round pick to NOLA for Thomas.
Even if Breer is overshooting the concept of Thomas solving the Patriots’ lack-of-a-No.1-receiver issues “once and for all,” acquiring a talent like the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year would be worth the sacrifice, and it would make New England instantly look better to prospective free-agent quarterbacks.
Even if the Patriots turn to Newton again as their starter in 2021, he’d be a lot better with Thomas as his No. 1 option. Add Thomas to a passing game that also adds a rookie wide receiver or two, and New England would be in a position to have a much more effective aerial attack.
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