Suspended All-Pro is Latest WR Linked to Patriots

Getty Michael Thomas

Until the New England Patriots sign, draft, or trade for their next great wide receiver, there will be rumors swirling whenever a top-notch player at the position appears to be available.

Behold, the latest example has several members of the media entertaining the concept of the New Orleans Saints trading suddenly disgruntled superstar Michael Thomas and the Patriots waiting in the wings for an opportunity to pair the elite pass catcher with Cam Newton.

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How Did We Get Here?

Thomas brawled with a teammate earlier in the week at practice.

That teammate turned out to be safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson. After the fight, he got into an argument with head coach Sean Payton.

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The fallout was a suspension for the Monday night game that he might not have played in any way because he’s been battling an ankle injury.

He was listed as questionable for the game before the fight and argument. This is something of a major dust-up, and it’s clear Thomas is upset about it, and the way he feels he was being portrayed by the team.

He took to Twitter to voice his displeasure in a series of partially cryptic posts:

When feelings are hurt as they appear to be in this situation, it’s possible there could be issues that linger. If Thomas were to ask to be traded, it would be interesting to see if the Saints would grant his request.

Linking Thomas to the Patriots

CLNS’ Evan Lazar hopped on the case shortly after Gridiron BR’s tweet:

Pats Pulpit’s Taylor Kyles was right behind him with his own rationale for the Patriots looking to see if they could acquire Thomas from the Saints.

The money logistics started to fall into place thanks to the perspective provided by Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Bezan:

Bezan has pointed out on several occasions, the Patriots have the cap space available to trade for any player in the NFL. However, that doesn’t mean that such a deal is likely or even advisable.

It also doesn’t mean Thomas would indeed demand a trade, or that the Saints would honor his request.

The Saints Would Be Crazy to Trade Thomas, Unless He Forces Their Hand

Despite the Saints’ slow start, they are still one of the most talented teams in the NFL when healthy. Moving Thomas would remove the team’s best weapon in the passing thereby making future Hall-of-Famer Drew Brees’ job harder.

Thomas set a single-season record for receptions in 2019 with 149. That marked the second straight season he led the NFL in receptions. He had 125 the year before and in 2019, he also led the league with 1,725 receiving yards to go with nine touchdowns. Injuries have slowed him significantly so far in 2020.

He’s played in just one game so far, and he had a modest three receptions for 17 yards. Perhaps his issue with Gardner-Johnson had something to do with frustration because of his health. There’s also a little thing going on right now called the pandemic and social injustice that also has some people on edge.

In any case, Thomas’ availability is far from a given, the Saints compliance is a second hurdle, and the Patriots’ willingness to part with assets to acquire him is another. In other words, let’s slow down on this rumor for now.

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