Most employers have performance evaluations to decide if an employee is deserving of a raise or a termination. For the New Orleans Saints, they ranked wide receiver Michael Thomas a high priority on their list of employees. The Saints decided Thomas deserved a raise and a historical one at that.
On Wednesday, July 31, 26-year-old Thomas became the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound receiver ended his delay of reporting to camp by reaching an agreement with the Saints on a five-year extension worth up to $100 million which includes $61 million guaranteed. The contract will consist of Thomas getting approximately $19.62 million per year for a total of $96.25 million. If he continues to climb the ladder of the elite, he will be able to reach the total value of $100 million in 2022 and 2023 seasons.
Last season, Thomas made a strong case for All-Pro status. Thomas set a franchise record with 125 catches, 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns. His catch rate ranks among some of the best at 84.5%, as well as being the first NFL player to have the most catches in his first three seasons with a remarkable number of 321 catches. Thomas was the only receiver for the Saints in the 2018 season to have more than 28 catches.
As fans on social media showed their excitement and approval of the resigning of Thomas, teammates and fellow professional athletes showed their respect by congratulating the wide receiver on his new contract.
LeBron James tweeted, “Congrats, Lil bro!! Well deserved. Keep going and settle for nothing less than greatness.”
Teammate Cameron Jordan who resigned with the Saints a few months ago commented on twitter by saying “100mm 100mm where yo hood at #paytheman.”
Thomas, with his username reading “Cantguardmike” took to social media with his first reaction to the new deal. It began with a video of a coach in the middle of a locker room with his team as the coach chants “Tell them to bring me my money” with the team erupting in cheers after.
He warned opponents and energized fans by beginning his next tweet with a caption that reads “Championship Mode! It’s a Marathon, so get your breathing right #WhoDat.” Thomas then gave his thanks to his family, friends, the Saints organization, to the city of New Orleans and the fans that come out every week to support.
“As I sit here and contemplate everything it took to get here. I can’t help but smile. All the long nights, all the blood sweat and tears to prove to myself I not only belonged, but I could be the best at what I love to do,”
“It still feels surreal — the Highest-Paid WR in NFL History. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I can say I’m grateful. I want to start by thanking God; without him, nothing is possible. My Granny Gwen, I miss you, and I hope what I’m doing truly makes you proud looking over me. I want to thank my family, who never doubted me and pushed me to be the best version of me I could be. I want to thank all my friends, who aided me along the way and made sure I didn't steer off track. I want to thank the late great Mr. Tom Benson and his lovely wife and owner of our team, Mrs. Gayle Benson, for believing in me. I want to thank our GM Mickey Loomis, our Head Coach Sean Peyton and my guy Khai Harley for trusting me enough to make me the highest-paid WR in the league.”
For Saints fans, there was no disapproval in the efforts to keep Thomas after the impressive run the Saints displayed during their season. Thomas showed up in clutch moments is one of the most dependable receivers for Quarterback Drew Brees.
In the fourth quarter or overtime situations, Thomas delivered in pressure moments, catching 21 of 22 passes in one-score games. Thomas gained the highest catch rate for any player with at least 10 targets last season. His career postseason numbers validated his consistency with 31 catches for 423 yards and three TDs in four games.
The Saints are looking to put the NFC Championship loss behind them by setting their eyes on their new season and with their familiar faces. With the absence of former Saints running back Mark Ingram, the Saints will still have the all-time passing leader Drew Brees under center, 2018 Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara, and now the highest-paid receiver who ranked 1st in reception percentage and receptions, and top 10 in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, receiving 1st downs.
Thomas is now reporting to camp in the black and gold and is ready to pick up where he left off. Brees showed satisfaction to the media when asked how did he feel about the big payday his teammate received. With a grin, Brees answered, “If your question is: ‘Do I want Michael Thomas on my team to be able to throw the ball to him’ ... Yes.”
Who Dat Nation will be ready to wear #13 jerseys around the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to support Thomas in his upcoming fourth season. And will be able to wear that jersey through the 2024 season. Now, fans can sit back and prepare for the next 2019 season to see what new historical records will be cemented in Saint's history.
Thomas ended his Twitter message by letting fans know there is only one place he plans on being for the rest of his career with the Scripture Matthew 22:14 attached to his ending remarks.