Saints Targeted Giants WR as Michael Thomas Replacement: Report

Saints targeted Giants WR Darius Slayton

Getty Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints warms up during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Numerous Giants pass catchers were subject to trade speculation leading up to the November 2nd deadline. Ultimately, the team chose to stay put despite what is gearing up to be yet another lost season for the once-storied franchise. Yet, just because there wasn’t any movement on the trade front, that’s not to say there weren’t legitimate talks about potentially unloading one of Daniel Jones’ top receivers.

According to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football (via Bleacher Report), the New Orleans Saints looked into acquiring Darius Slayton from the Giants as a way to upgrade their Michael Thomas-less receiving corps. In the end, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement before the 4:00 p.m. ET deadline struck.


Thomas Out for Season With New Injury

The Saints, who also reportedly snooped around the Odell Beckham trade market to no prevail (per ESPN’s Kimberley A. Martin), will be without their top receiver for the remainder of the season. Thomas, who has spent the entirety of the 2021 NFL season thus far on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list after offseason ankle surgery, will now miss the rest of the season following “another small setback.” According to ESPN’s Mike Triplett, “the setback was a new issue that recently developed after Thomas had been progressing in his recovery.”

In addition to Thomas’ prolonged absence, the Saints passing game will also be without quarterback Jameis Winston for the remainder of the season after the former No. 1 pick suffered a torn ACL in their Week 8 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The ever-versatile Taysom Hill is expected to take over the team’s starting quarterback duties in the wake of Winston’s injury. Hill suffered a concussion in Week 5 and hasn’t dressed for a game since. However, the 31-year-old signal-caller is expected to clear concussion protocol in time for New Orlean’s Week 9 bout with the Atlanta Falcons.

If for whatever reason Hill can’t go on Sunday, the team will turn to veteran Trevor Siemian under center. The former Denver Broncos starter threw for 159 yards and one touchdown in spot duty vs. the Bucs.

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Did WR Injuries Handcuff the Giants?

New York’s currently laundry list of injuries at the receiver position likely played into the team’s decision to hold onto Slayton through the deadline. Sterling Shepard is expected to be out through the Giants’ Week 10 bye week, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. Kenny Golladay (knee) hasn’t appeared in a game since Week 5, while Kadarius Toney is currently nursing both an ankle and a thumb injury.

Slayton, 24, is New York’s reigning leader in receiving yards in each of the past two seasons, putting up back-to-back 740-plus yard campaigns. The former fifth-round pick has seen his production take a dip in 2021 thanks to a combination of injuries (missed Week 4-6 with a hamstring) and new arrivals at the position. Still, when healthy Slayton has proven to be one of the league’s premier deep threats, averaging 15.3 yards per reception over 35 career games.

Since 2019, the Auburn product has amassed 1,681 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns on 110 receptions. He’s currently in the third year of a bargain four-year, $2,753,988 deal and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023. 

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