Source: Saints, Michael Thomas are “close”

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That perfect world envisioned by Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis may be emerging, sooner than a later.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Saints and receiver Michael Thomas are “close” to getting a deal done that would end his unexpected holdout.

The characterization comes at a time when chatter has emerged that the Saints could trade Thomas in lieu of signing him; the source dismissed that possibility.

Of course, “close” doesn’t mean done. One or both sides will need to move in order to close the gap and do the deal. It appears, based on scattered bits and pieces we’ve gleaned, that the contract would be a five-year extension, and that the question is whether it will be worth $19 million per year or $20 million per year.

Within that bigger picture, there also could be structural questions regarding cash flow, guarantees, etc. But it appears that the biggest hangup for now relates to the average payout over the next five new years of the contract.

With the cap expected to grow in the coming years, and if Thomas is willing to commit through 2024, this one should be easy to resolve, because whatever Thomas gets now likely will be viewed as a great deal by 2022 at the latest — especially since he’s made it clear that he’s a great receiver.

The real question the Saints need to ask themselves is whether they are confident that, post-Drew Brees, they’ll get the most out of Thomas. Chances are that, as long as Sean Payton remains the coach in New Orleans, they will.