New Orleans receiver Michael Thomas is reportedly seeking an average annual salary of $22 million, about $4 million more than the Saints’ latest offer.
Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com reported the sizable gap in the ongoing contract negotiations on Friday, adding that nothing would be resolved soon as Thomas is currently in Europe.
Thomas, 26, was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2018 with a league-leading 125 catches for 1,402 yards and nine touchdowns.
ESPN reported earlier this week that the Saints are “comfortable” with making Thomas the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.
General manager Mickey Loomis confirmed on Mad Dog Sports Radio that the Saints are working on a long-term deal, with Thomas entering the final year of his rookie contract.
“We’ve had some conversations, and I like keeping that close to the vest until there’s something to report, but look, we love what Mike’s done for us,” Loomis said. “He’s a fantastic player, one of the best at his position in the league, and hopefully we can keep him a Saint for a long time as well.”
The Saints recently agreed to a three-year deal with defensive end Cam Jordan, but locking up Thomas might be pushed into the 2020 offseason.
If the two sides remain far apart on value, Thomas could be given the franchise tag for 2020. The tag value for 2019 was $16.7 million.
Thomas’ four-year deal signed as a second-round pick out of Ohio State calls for him to be paid $1.15 million in salary in 2019.
—Field Level Media