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NFL free agency: Saints, WR Michael Thomas reportedly agree to 1-yr, $10 million restructured contract

Michael Thomas will return to the Saints in 2023. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas will return to the Saints in 2023. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) (Chris Graythen via Getty Images)

The New Orleans Saints will keep receiver Michael Thomas after he and the team reportedly agreed to a restructured one-year "incentive-laden" contract worth between $10-$15 million, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Thomas was coming off another injured-plagued season where he played just three games and tallied 16 receptions for 171 yards and three touchdowns. The 30-year-old wideout signed a then-record five-year, $100 million contract in 2019 and finished as the Offensive Player of the Year with an NFL-leading 149 receptions for 1,725 receiving yards.

Questions about Thomas' durability emerged in 2020 when he played in only seven games and then missed the entire 2021 season after he underwent ankle surgery during the offseason. Thomas' grand return in 2022 looked promising when he scored three touchdowns in the first two games, but another lingering injury forced him to miss the next few games before the Saints put Thomas back on injured reserve.

Thomas' huge contract made him a possible salary cap cut casualty this offseason but his recruitment of new Saints quarterback Derek Carr may have saved him. Carr told ESPN's Katherine Terrell that he and Thomas spoke on the phone a lot and Carr told his wife that he loves Thomas' competitive energy.

“When he started recruiting and talking to me, he wasn’t even trying to recruit me,” Carr said. “He was just like, ‘When are we getting to work? We’re wasting time. Time is ticking.’ I was like, ‘Dude, I’m the same way. We’ll get there.’ But I think that our relationship has grown through the process, and I’m looking forward to hopefully making that relationship grow even stronger.”

The hope for the Saints and Carr, now, is that Thomas is fully recovered from his 2022 foot injury. Thomas and second-year receiver Chris Olave would form one of the better pass-catching duos for Carr in the wide-open NFC South.