Cowboys Projected to Have Interest in Controversial 3-Time Pro Bowl WR

Cowboys potential signee Michael Thomas

Getty Cowboys potential signee Michael Thomas

Not long ago, Saints star Michael Thomas was arguably the best receiver in the game, on his way to a sure spot in the Hall of Fame.  That was before a series of unfortunate events—injuries, a very public battle with his coach and social media digs at his quarterback—derailed things and left him here, still a free agent at the end of May, perhaps a bit too toxic for most teams to touch. But the Cowboys are not most teams, right?

Dallas has always had a willingness to absorb talented players who have been discarded elsewhere. Thomas has talent, and plays a position of need for the Cowboys, who have contract holdout CeeDee Lamb and 31-year-old Brandin Cooks as their top two receivers, with untested options (Jalen Tolbert, KaVontae Turpin) looking to replace the since-released Michael Gallup.

Thomas could rebuild what remains of his career with the Cowboys. He is 31 years old, so his days of leading the league in receptions (he did that twice and set and NFL record for catches with 149 in 2019) and yardage (he did that once) are behind him. But he is still a high-ceiling, low-risk gamble at a position of need for Dallas.

And at CBS Sports, in an article titled, “Ranking players Cowboys could add before training camp: These ex-Pro Bowlers would help Dallas in a big way,” the argument is made that Thomas should be one of those ex-Pro Bowlers.

Cowboys Have 4 Roster Spots & Plenty of Needs

CBS analyst Garrett Podell notes that the Cowboys have four roster spots available and writes, “Since Dallas has four remaining roster spots, here is a look at four players whom it may be interested in adding — based on its needs and potential price tag — ahead of training camp.” In connection with Thomas:

“Three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Thomas, now 31 years old, simply hasn’t been the same since earning 2019 NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors after setting the NFL single-season record for catches with 149 to go along with a league-leading 1,725 receiving yards as well as nine receiving touchdowns.

“Injuries have robbed him of critical prime years in the 2020s, as he has played just 20 games the last four seasons, totaling 1,057 yards and 95 catches with four receiving touchdowns from 2020-23. If the Cowboys believe he has a chance at staying healthy and want to bring in someone to push Jalen Tolbert for their third wide receiver spot, this signing could make sense.”

Tolbert is the early favorite to win the No. 3 job, but he has been shaky, at best, two seasons into his career. He was a third-round pick from South Alabama in 2022, and has logged 24 catches for 280 yards with two touchdowns in his two seasons. He posted a grade of 56.5 at Pro Football Focus, which ranked 103rd out of 128 receivers in the NFL.

Michael Thomas Comes With Excessive Baggage

Thomas topped that number from Tolbert. He totaled 448 yards in 10 games in 2023, with one touchdown catch, and was graded out at 67.4, which was a career low, by PFF.

There is more to Thomas’ status as free agent than his numbers, though. He struggled last year even after the departure of ex-Saints coach and nemesis Sean Payton, with whom Thomas publicly feuded over the timing of his ankle surgery in 2020.

His exit from New Orleans was ugly. The Saints had given him a record $97 million contract five years ago, and that deal helped make him an easy target. Several times in recent years, the team implied that he had not been honest about his injuries.

He also had legal woes last season, as he was, according to ESPN, “arrested on misdemeanor charges of simple battery and criminal mischief,” in November, when he had an altercation with a contractor who was doing work in Thomas’ neighborhood.

It did not help, either, that Thomas lodged more than one social-media complaint against new Saints quarterback Derek Carr.

Thus, if the Cowboys brought him in, Thomas would bring a considerable past baggage with him. But he would also bring a Pro Bowl past.

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