Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas makes a tough catch against the Atlanta Falcons in December 2020.
The Baltimore Ravens have been named by CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin as one of seven NFL teams who could play for angry New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas.
Rumors of the double have been circulating for almost a year All-Pros intensifying after Thomas posted a cryptic message on Twitter apparently claiming the Saints were trying to damage his reputation.
Benjamin believes the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year is doing well to Baltimore would fit, and writes:
They’d have to move some money to make it work, but they’ve been snooping around seasoned receivers hoping to help QB Lamar Jackson. Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins can be very good at assisting the aerial play alongside Marquise Brown, but Thomas would be the most natural target for Jackson, especially in a run-heavy, short-range pass attack. Baltimore is now obviously focused on winning too, and they’re comfortably living outside of the NFC.
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But if Thomas is really on the trading bloc, it is extremely unlikely that he will join the Ravens, both due to the team’s financial situation and the current one Offensive Personnel.
Benjamin highlighted the difficulty the Ravens would face in dealing with Thomas’ salary cap of $ 10.1 million with just $ 7.7 million in estimated cap space, Spotrac said The Ravens could get it working with a few contract restructurings and roster cuts, but General Manager Eric DeCosta has carefully spent the off-season building a team that has depth on both sides of the ball. EDC is unlikely to move the team’s line-up to add Thomas, despite his pedigree in the wideout position.
But Thomas’ cap hit 2021 is nothing compared to the next three years that he will count more than $ 24 million toward his team’s salary cap each year. The Ravens have a number of key contributors whose contracts will expire after this season, most of whom will be happy to step down or renew.
Star quarterback Lamar Jackson is negotiating a long-term renewal with the team that is expected to average an average annual value of more than $ 40 million a year. Tight end Mark Andrews, who has been leading the Ravens at catches since 2018, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns since 2018, also stands for a new deal. Offensive linemen Bradley Bozeman and Patrick Mekari will be free agents in 2022, as will DeShon Elliott starting security. Free agent signing Sammy Watkins only agreed to a one-year contract with the Ravens, so the team could extend it if he had an immediate impact on passing.
Given the contracts already on the books of the Ravens stand, and with the hefty overtimes they are likely to award, the front office is unlikely to make Thomas’ salary work for the team.
DeCosta worked on upgrading the Ravens wide receivers during the off-season, by adding Watkins to the free agency and rookies Rahod Bateman and Tylan Wallace to the design. The Ravens’ vast reception room is suddenly very crowded, with 2019 third round player Miles Boykin and 2020 sixth round James Proche potentially competing for a roster seat, with several other receivers looking in from the outside.
While Thomas is undoubtedly the team’s best receiver the Ravens would waste their heavy investments in targets for Lamar Jackson.
Thomas would push everyone down on the depth map, potentially stunting the development of the Ravens’ promising young recipients, particularly Bateman and Marquise « Hollywood » Brown. Although Bateman and Brown are both struggling with injuries, the Ravens are unlikely to panic and stalk Thomas.
Benjamin argued that the Ravens « are only focused on winning now, » but the years of the Squad structure patterns of the team suggest the opposite. The Ravens front office is known for building competitive teams every year without sacrificing the future. The Saints ‘all-pro wideout demand will likely be too high for the Ravens to make a deal.
Especially in the Ravens’ raging offensive, Thomas will not have enough leverage to trade assets and to justify the binding of ceilings for the coming years. Fans shouldn’t hold their breath and wait for the Ravens to trade for him.
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