Pierre Thomas’ agent LaMont Smith says his client isn’t asking for Steven Jackson money.
Something less Chester Taylor money, however, isn’t going to cut it. Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the Saints’ initial long-term offer to Thomas was four years and $11 million. No wonder Thomas isn’t happy.
The Saints reportedly haven’t budged from that offer, which would pay Thomas as a mediocre backup during the prime of his career. Taylor received $12.5 million over four years earlier this offseason from the Bears, but he’s an aging player and that deal was heavily front-loaded.
New Orleans is playing hardball. Duncan tweeted this morning that the Saints plan to reduce Thomas’ $1.6 million tender offer on June 15 if he’s still unsigned. They could take his salary down to $500,000, which is a significant threat for an undrafted player that has never earned half a million.
Paying Thomas like a true backup is a ridiculous bargaining stance. He’s led the Saints running backs in yards from scrimmage the last two years and his role is expected to increase. Reggie Bush will earn $8 million in 2010.