It’s not quite the Brady Six, but Saints receiver Michael Thomas likely is thinking about five specific names as the ink dries on his five-year, $100 million* extension. (The asterisk will be explained in a future post.)
In 2016, five receivers were drafted before Thomas, the 47th pick in the draft. None of them have come close to doing what Thomas has done in New Orleans.
From Corey Coleman (15th overall) to Will Fuller (21st) to Josh Doctson (22nd) to Laquon Treadwell (23rd) to Sterling Sheppard (40th), all have been — relative to Thomas — not great. Sheppard has come the closest to the production that Thomas has generated, but Sheppard is still averaging 500 yards per year (1,500 total) fewer than Thomas.
Indeed, Thomas has more than 500 more career receiving yards than the four 2016 first-round receivers combined. He has 3,787; Coleman, Fuller, Doctson, and Treadwell have 3,257 among them.
Motivated in part by sliding to 47th, it’s fair to wonder whether Thomas would have been as good if he didn’t have the chip on his shoulder that comes from being drafted lower than he believes he should have been drafted. Regardless, he landed where he did, he’s done what he’s done, and now he’s getting paid huge money — more per year in new money than any receiver in NFL history.
Of course, that may not last long. A guy who slid to round five in that same draft currently plays for the Chiefs, and with Thomas setting the bar at $20 million per year, Tyreek Hill surely will try to match or beat it.