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Who is Michael Thomas, the former highest-paid NFL receiver that the Dallas Cowboys could sign?

The Cowboys’ top two WRs have been decided with CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks, but the WR3 position is still up for grabs. That brings us to Michael Thomas.

The Cowboys’ top two WRs have been decided with CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks, but the WR3 position is still up for grabs. That brings us to Michael Thomas.
Sean GardnerGetty Images

With Michael Gallup gone, the Cowboys are set with their top receiver as CeeDee Lamb, and Brandin Cooks behind him. It’s likely that Dak Prescott’s third-favorite target will be tight end Jake Ferguson. So who will be the fourth? It’s currently a battle between Jalen Tolbert, KaVontae Turpin, Jalen Brooks, and rookie Ryan Flournoy. But it’s also possible the Cowboys could bring in another veteran to add to the battle.

That’s where 31-year-old former New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas comes in. The Cowboys are considered the favorites to sign the three-time Pro Bowler, according to BetOnline.

Who is Michael Thomas?

Drafted by the Saints in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Michael Thomas had become one of the best receivers in the league by 2019. That year, the Saints signed him to a five-year, $100 million contract extension with $61 million guaranteed, making him the highest-paid receiver in the league at the time.

That same year, with Drew Brees as New Orleans’ quarterback, Thomas set an NFL record with 149 receptions and ended the season with a league-high 1,725 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, winning Offensive Player of the Year. In fact, that was the second year in a row that Thomas led the league in receptions.

Unfortunately for him, that was his last great season, as the next four years in a row saw him sit out with injuries.

In 2020, Thomas was only able to play seven games before he had to sit out the rest of the season with an ankle injury. He then had to miss the entire 2021 season with an ankle injury as well. In 2022, he missed 14 games with a foot injury. And in 2023, he played in 10 games before a knee injury ended his season yet again. The Saints released him and he became a free agent in March.

For the Cowboys, this isn’t a huge concern, as they’d only need Thomas as a fourth receiving option, so it wouldn’t be too hard to keep him healthy in the meantime. In his last season with the Saints, before the knee injury sat him out, Thomas put up 39 receptions for 448 yards as the WR2 after Chris Olave. If he’d stayed healthy and kept up that pace, he likely would have outperformed all of the Cowboys receivers besides Lamb.

Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox argued that Thomas would be a perfect replacement for Gallup. “At worst, Thomas should be a functional replacement for Gallup as WR3,” Knox wrote. “If he could recapture some of his earlier form, however, he could be much, much more. Adding him would be a boom-or-bust risk, but Dallas doesn’t have a ton of other options, barring a trade.”

Knox also makes the great point that Thomas is no longer the expensive option he used to be, and in fact would have to settle for a pretty cheap contract and prove his worth after four years of injuries and missed time. As for how the Cowboys have behaved this offseason, this move checks out. They’ve been avoiding contract extensions even for their top players and avoided making any big new signings. He would make sense as an option at WR4 for the Cowboys, who head to training camp on July 24.