The Saints may have to rob Pierre to pay Jimmy.
According to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Saints have reached out to agent Lamont Smith to discuss the future of veteran running back Pierre Thomas. While Smith wouldn’t comment on what that could mean for Pierre’s future, Smith didn’t need to.
With a $2.9 million base salary in 2014, the final year of his current contract, Thomas likely will be facing a request to take less money to stay. If he declines, the Saints could decide to move on.
As Holder points out, a chest injury kept Thomas out of the team’s two playoff games, and the combination of Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson performed well. Given that those two running backs have a combined cap number of $2.8 million, it could be time for Thomas to move on, unless he’s willing to take less.
Acquired as an undrafted free agent the year after Reggie Bush arrived as the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, Thomas happily has shared the reps for seven seasons, averaging only 110 carries per season — but gaining an average of 4.6 yards per attempt. He’s seen teammates like Bush and Chris Ivory get more opportunities elsewhere, and this could be an opportunity for Thomas to land with a team that will let him blossom in a way that a three-man weave never will.
At only 29 and with plenty of tread on the tires, Thomas could generate some interest on the open market, if the Saints decide not to keep him under contract. Smith’s decision to leak the news of a looming discussion with the Saints but to be coy about the content could be Smith’s way of letting the other 31 teams know that they should put Pierre in their potential plans for free agency.