Oct 1, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) warms up before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an unfortunate case of what could have been for Michael Thomas and the New Orleans Saints. Through four seasons, Thomas looked like a future Hall of Famer with Drew Brees and the high powered Saints offense. It culminated in a legendary 2019 campaign where Thomas set an NFL record with 149 receptions, that still stands even with the expansion to 17 regular season games. He was named AP Offensive Player of the Year for his efforts.

But it all started spiraling downward when Thomas injured his ankle in the 4th quarter of a Week 1 game against the Buccaneers in 2020. Thomas missed time with a high ankle sprain, but the injury was a persistent issue throughout the season. In the offseason, Thomas got surgery and further complications led to him missing the entire 2021 season. The next two campaigns were also marred with injury and reports and rumors of discontent with the franchise, meaning the former All-Pro has only played 20 games the last 4 seasons.

All of that led to Thomas’ expected divorce with the Saints this offseason. That was confirmed by longtime Saints writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Jeff Duncan. Duncan has covered the team for decades and written multiple books on the Saints, so he’s clearly one of the most well-connected voices to the franchise. He tweeted that the franchise would soon release their former All Pro.

Duncan’s article clearly did not sit well with Thomas, who went on a Twitter rampage against Duncan filled with childish name-calling, claims that the Saints leaked information to him, and also taking personal shots at his appearance. Thomas seemed to take issue with the phrasing of a “release” given his contract was restructured last offseason to basically be a one year deal for 2023. But with the Saints’ voodoo magic with the salary cap, nothing is straight-forward. Regardless, it was a far cry from the 5-year, $100 million contract he had signed in his prime. It was all very unflattering and an ugly end to what once was a bright career in New Orleans.


It’s not the first time Thomas’ tweets have caused a commotion. This season while he was out injured, he took it upon himself to live tweet a Saints game that included not-so veiled criticism at quarterback Derek Carr. The outspoken receiver has always been an active Twitter voice and it has often come with controversy. He’s even deactivated and reactivated his account at times.

Now Thomas, and his Twitter account, will be free to find a new home this offseason. Time will tell if he ever recaptures the success that he did before his injury and if he lets his playing do the talking.