Lions may be best (and only) option for record-holding WR whose star has faded

  • Michael Thomas remains available
  • At this point the Lions might be his best, and perhaps only, option
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Since he set the NFL single-season record with 149 receptions in 2019, it's been a dismal journey for Michael Thomas. He has played in just 20 games over the last four seasons due to a myriad of injuries (ankle, foot, knee). As expected, the New Orleans Saints released him in March.....with a failed physical designation.

Thomas now stands as one of the top free agents available, and of course as one of the top wide receivers available. Landing spots tabbed for him have not come to fruition, with his recent injury history and that failed physical as the chief reasons. In a "what have you done lately?" league, Thomas simply hasn't done much lately.

Thomas hasn't been without some off the field stuff, either on social media or after he allegedly threw a brick through the window of someone's car last fall. But in terms of why he's not yet signed, deep into June, that's because of hardly being available over the last four seasons.

Thomas' options are naturally thin.

Lions may be the best and only option for Michael Thomas

Wide receiver has been easy to point to as a lingering need for the Detroit Lions. After Amon-Ra St. Brown, there's a lot of projection, hope, etc. in pinning down who will fill the void left by Josh Reynolds. Thomas' name has surfaced in a few spots as a signing who could fit.

In a fresh piece suggesting a final offseason move for each team before training camp (subscription required), ESPN's Aaron Schatz pointed to signing Thomas for the Lions.

"The Lions have a lot of cap space and definitely could use veteran help at receiver, so why not bring in Thomas as a reclamation project? He had only 448 yards and one touchdown in New Orleans last season, but the Lions have the kind of offensive scheme that could get him back up to a catch rate of 70% on those slants that he was so good at back in 2018 and 2019. If it doesn't work out, the Lions will just spend money they weren't using anyway (they have the second-most available cap space in the league). If it does, it's another step toward finally getting Detroit to a Super Bowl."

Thomas has history with Lions' coaches. Head coach Dan Campbell, and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, were on Sean Payton's staff in New Orleans over Thomas' first five NFL seasons (2016-2020). As a member of the offensive staff, Campbell would've had a closer look at Thomas' work. But that was also a while ago now.

The Lions, or any other team who could sign him, won't (and won't have to) commit much (if any) guaranteed money to Thomas and it won't be more than a one-year deal. Unless other interest in him starts to surface when training camp gets closer, Thomas could be left to hope the Lions want to give him a look. Assuming he's healthy enough to, and thus intends to, play this season of course.

Next. Ranking the Detroit Lions best internal options to replace Josh Reynolds. Ranking the Detroit Lions best internal options to replace Josh Reynolds. dark