It's been a tough year for Michael Thomas. He played exactly one game this season before going down with a high ankle sprain and hitting the IR for a brief spell. When he returned, rumors were abound that he got into an altercation with a teammate in practice and was declared inactive for the New Orleans Saints' Week 5 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Now, he's struggling with a hamstring injury that threatens to sideline him for this week's game against the Carolina Panthers.
It's hard to call it anything other than a disaster of a season so far, even if the strong rumors suggesting he punched one of his teammates ends up being false. To throw more fuel on the fire, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported on Saturday morning that some around the league believe the Saints might be looking to trade Thomas, and Thomas may welcome the move.
"As the trade deadline approaches — and as the COVID-19 protocol as a practical matter accelerates the closing of the window for teams that hope to have new players ready to go for Week Nine — there’s an unlikely name to watch: Michael Thomas. Some in league circles believe that the Saints could be willing to move him, and/or that Thomas could be interested in moving."
This is not a concrete rumor by any means. Florio takes the general chatter he's hearing and pairs it with circumstantial evidence, like the fact that the Saints do nothing by accident and a lot of the leaks from recent weeks have painted Thomas in a bad light, to suggest it might be a possibility.
It would be a surprise. Thomas is the Saints' best wideout and this is likely their final year to compete for a championship with Drew Brees. Trading his favorite target would not exactly be a means to an ends in that regard. There's no return for New Orleans that would make them a better team without Thomas.
So, we'll see. A Thomas trade feels mighty unlikely, but it felt unlikely the Saints would trade Brandin Cooks a few years ago, and they did that anyway. Take it all with a grain of salt, of course. Crazier things have happened, though.
UPDATE: According to several reporters, Sean Payton responded to this rumors via his private Twitter account.
Saints beat writer Nick Underhill provided a screenshot: