The Baltimore Ravens have been linked to Michael Thomas, a wide receiver from Ohio State who is projected as a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
The Baltimore Ravens have been named as a potential suitor for Michael Thomas, but the New Orleans Saints are not willing to trade him.
In December 2020, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas makes a difficult catch against the Atlanta Falcons.
CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin identified the Baltimore Ravens as one of seven NFL clubs who may make a move for disgruntled New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas.
Rumors concerning the two-time All-Pro have been circulating for nearly a year, and they intensified when Thomas wrote a cryptic statement on Twitter, seemingly claiming that the Saints were attempting to harm his image.
Benjamin believes that the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year would fit in well in Baltimore, writing:
To make that work, they’d have to shift some money about, but they’ve been scouting experienced receivers this summer in the hopes of assisting QB Lamar Jackson. Along with Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins may assist the aerial game, but Thomas would be the most obvious target for Jackson, particularly in a run-heavy, short-area passing approach. Baltimore is clearly completely focused on winning right now, and they are safely outside the NFC playoff picture.
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However, if Thomas is really on the market, he is unlikely to sign with the Ravens, given the team’s financial condition and existing offensive players.
Extensions to Come Cap-Strapped
According to Spotrac, Benjamin downplayed the Ravens’ ability to handle Thomas’ $10.1 million salary cap impact with just $7.7 million in projected cap space.
With a few contract restructures and roster cuts, the Ravens might make it work, but general manager Eric DeCosta has spent the summer meticulously constructing a club with depth on both sides of the ball. Despite Thomas’ credentials at the wideout position, EDC is unlikely to make any roster changes in order to acquire him.
However, Thomas’ cap charge in 2021 is little compared to his salary cap hit over the following three years, when he will be worth more than $24 million each year. The Ravens have a bevy of important players whose contracts are up at the conclusion of the season, and they’ll be keen to renew or extend the majority of them.
Lamar Jackson, the club’s star quarterback, is reportedly discussing a long-term contract with the organization for upwards of $40 million per year. Mark Andrews, the Ravens’ leading receiver in receptions, yards, and touchdowns since 2018, is also due for a new contract. In 2022, offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman and Patrick Mekari, as well as starting safety DeShon Elliott, will be free agents. Sammy Watkins, a free agency signing, signed a one-year contract with the Ravens, but the club may extend him if he has an instant impact in the passing game.
Given the Ravens’ current contract situation, as well as the expensive extensions they’re expected to hand out, it’s doubtful that the front office will be able to make Thomas’ pay work for the club.
New Receivers, New Season
DeCosta sought to strengthen the Ravens’ wide receivers during the summer, bringing in Watkins in free agency and youngsters Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace in the draft. With 2019 third-round pick Miles Boykin and 2020 sixth-round pick James Proche vying for a roster spot, plus many more players on the outside looking in, the Ravens wide receiver room has become extremely crowded.
While Thomas would certainly be the team’s greatest receiver, the Ravens would be squandering their significant investment on Lamar Jackson targets.
Thomas’ addition would push everyone else down the depth chart, possibly slowing the growth of the Ravens’ talented young receivers, namely Bateman and Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown. Despite the fact that Bateman and Brown are both injured, the Ravens are unlikely to panic and go after Thomas.
Benjamin said that the Ravens are “solely focused on winning now,” but the team’s roster building trends throughout the years suggest otherwise. The Ravens’ front office is renowned for putting together competitive teams year after year without compromising the team’s long-term prospects. The Saints’ asking price for their All-Pro wideout will almost certainly be too much for the Ravens to accept.
Thomas will not have enough of an effect on the Ravens’ run-heavy system to warrant moving assets and locking up salary space for years to come. Fans should not hold their breath for the Ravens to make a deal for him.
The baltimore ravens logo is a bird that is known for its black and white coloring. It was named as a potential suitor for Michael Thomas, who recently left the New Orleans Saints.
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