Should The Saints Worry About Their Former All-Pro?

August 25, 2022

Saints Wide Receiver Michael Thomas put up a historic year as a wide receiver in the 2019-2020 season, but since then he has not been able to muster up a full season of production due to injuries. Should the Saints remain worried about him in 2022?

After his remarkable season that saw Michael Thomas haul in 149 receptions along with 1725 yards and nine touchdowns, Thomas has not been able to shake the injuries. He has played a combined nine total games in the seasons following his historic 2019 season. Let’s go through a list of what injuries the Saints’ star wideout has faced since then.

2020-21 Season

  • High ankle sprain – Week One
  • Placed on injured reserve due to that same lingering ankle injury – Week 14

2021-2022 Season

  • Placed on PUP due to ankle surgery – July 2021
  • Would not play at all during the 2021 season due to said surgery

2022-2023 Season

  • Held out the remainder of the preseason due to a hamstring injury – Preseason Week Two

Concerns About Thomas Have Been Warranted For The Saints

While the hamstring injury for Thomas was noted only to be minor, it can only worry Saints fans when they hear that their superstar receiver is sidelined yet again. Michael Thomas, who turned 29 in March, is forcing us to beg the question, “Will he step back on the field and produce at a high level?” Time will only tell for the former Ohio State standout.

While he has not played a fully healthy season in two years, there is no doubting his skill when he is at his best. Thomas has lost a lot of credibility as a player among fans due to his absence, but his past accolades bring a feasible counter to the argument.

Michael Thomas Career Accolades:

  • Tied for the fewest games in history to achieve 300 career receptions (45)
  • Fewest games to reach 400 career receptions (56) and 500 career receptions (69)
  • Most receptions in a player’s first two seasons (196), three seasons (321), four seasons (470), and five seasons (510).
  • Single-season reception record holder with 149 receptions
  • 2019-20 Offensive Player of the Year (First Wide Receiver to win the award since Jerry Rice in 1993)
  • Two-time NFL receptions leader (2018-19, 2019-20 seasons)
  • 78.1 career catch rate percentage

The point is, that Michael Thomas is already a historic player. He was well on pace to a hall of fame career until he started his battle with injuries.

While acknowledging the carousel at the quarterback position, in the season that Michael Thomas did not play a single down for New Orleans, the offense finished 28th in yards per game (304.5), dead last in pass yards per game (187.4), and 19th in points per game. In a season where Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian, and Ian Book all started games for the team, rather than Drew Brees, who retired the offseason prior, the Saints could’ve used their former All-Pro receiver to help take some weight off of the man under center.

It is no question that New Orleans is a better team with Thomas on the field. However, we are beginning to forget what that feels like.

The Saints made a splash in the offseason, signing former Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry and drafting another buckeye wideout in Chris Olave. Despite Sean Payton stepping down, the offense has huge potential. With Pete Carmichael in command and Jameis Winston under center and a more than capable backup in Andy Dalton, the offense is all but guaranteed to improve upon last season, especially if Thomas can stay healthy.

When it is all said and done, I am sure everyone is in agreeance that the NFL is better when their players are healthy and at their best.