Saints' Thomas agrees to new 1-year contract

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas has agreed to a new one-year, incentive-laden contract worth between $10 million and $15 million for the 2023 season, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday because the new agreement has not been announced.

Thomas already was under contract, but the Saints would have been virtually certain to release him into free agency by the end of this week if the two-time All-Pro had not agreed to scrap his previous deal. ESPN first reported the new contract.

Thomas set an NFL record for catches in a season with 149 in 2019, when he also had 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns receiving.

Since then, however, he has played in just 10 games, missing all of 2021 with an ankle injury and playing in just three games last season before a toe injury ended his 2022 campaign.

In early January, the Saints restructured a five-year, $96.3 million contract that Thomas signed in 2019 in order to gain short-term salary cap flexibility. That change included a $32 million roster bonus that was due to become guaranteed on Friday.

In effect, that deal gave Thomas the option to pursue free agency if he was unhappy with the direction of the Saints' offense. But New Orleans' recent signing of former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr appeared to sweeten Thomas on the notion of staying put.

Carr said he spoke with Thomas leading up to his decision to sign with New Orleans and expressed an eagerness to work with the former All-Pro receiver this offseason

"You talk to Mike Thomas and you feel like you two could go out there and face the world," Carr said.

"When he started recruiting and talking to me, he wasn't even trying to recruit me, he was just like, 'When are we getting to work, we're wasting time, time is ticking,'" Carr continued. "Our relationship has grown through the process, and I'm looking forward to hopefully making that relationship grow even stronger.

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