Saints didn’t suspend Michael Thomas

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Much has been written and said in recent days regarding the one-game suspension imposed by the Saints on receiver Michael Thomas. There’s one small problem with that.

He was never actually suspended.

PFT has obtained a copy of the letter that the Saints sent to Thomas. The subject line of the letter uses the phrase “Fine for Conduct Detrimental to the Club.”

Here’s the key language: “[T]his letter is to notify you that you have been fined in the amount of $58,823.53 . . . for engaging in conduct detrimental to the club.” In other words, Thomas was fined, not suspended.

It’s a strange development, given that the discipline was so widely characterized as a suspension. Although on the surface it’s a distinction without a difference, the difference between a fine in the amount of one game check and a one-game suspension means that $27.95 million in future guarantees have not been voided.

The apparent goal was to get the attention of the player without utilizing the close-to-nuclear option of wiping out his guarantees, or at least trying to. The Saints may have chosen not to pick a $27.95 million fight with Thomas and the NFL Players Association, since the matter undoubtedly would have gone to a grievance — and the Saints quite possibly would have lost. Also, attacking the guarantees could have caused Thomas to reach his own breaking point with the team, resulting in a possible trade demand.

Regardless, Thomas wasn’t suspended. He was fined. If he doesn’t change his behavior, a suspension (along with the voiding of guarantees) could happen. For now, though, his guarantees remain intact.

26 responses to “Saints didn’t suspend Michael Thomas

  1. Ah, yes, the tried-and-true “behavior modification request via a minor compensation withholding”. Good luck with that.

  2. One thing I learned in the real world is that you don’t have to be “suspended” to be in the dog house. Looks like his boss sent a shot across the bow. We’ll see if he picked it up or not.

  3. The Saints can only come out looking good. He deserved at least a one game suspension and still the Saints opted to go the other route. Now, if Thomas screws up again, the Saints will always be able to say “We tried to be nice the first time…now its all on the player.”

  4. Smart move by the Saints. Get his attention…hopefully change behavior. If not, can always do an official suspension, and perhaps this “fine” would give a true suspension more chance to hold up on appeal.

  5. Along with the fine the Saints should have required him to read Antonio Brown’s tweets to let him see where he’s headed if continues down this path.

  6. Well, they should have.

    This is why teams that do a lot of self promoting only enable primadonnas.

  7. Teammates have fought since the beginning of football. With a bunch of alpha males, playing an alpha game, you’re going to have those.

  8. They should suspend his social media accounts. Was very likeable until the nonstop humble brags on twitter and Instagram

  9. Call the Eagles right now, Roseman will mortgage whatever he has left to acquire Thomas and not have to make another draft selection he will get criticized for.

    Eagles will trade a 1 and 3 for Thomas, New Orleans gets the ammo and cap space to replace Brees and start over.

  10. They sure showed him!!!*

    *That he is bigger than the team and that they are scared to death to actually punish him.

  11. Thomas reportedly alluded to his ankle not being completely healed yet on a twitter post as well.

  12. He didn’t have to be suspended to get the message across. He was fined, got benched, and his team won a game without him which sends the message, “we can win without you if we have to.”

    Things will be fine.

  13. I guess he should worry less about what Drew Brees says and more about how Michael Thomas acts?

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