The Saints have lost star Wide Receiver Michael Thomas to injury once again. On top of a large pile of injuries, this makes a particular free agent appealing.
Saints Wide Receiver Out With Injury Once Again
Dennis Allen recently broke the news of WR Michael Thomas being placed on the IR with a Toe injury that requires surgery, leaving him out for the remainder of the season.
The Saints are in familiar territory as they have gone through two years of an injury-riddled offense, with Thomas consistently headlining the reports. The offense has taken a hit every time their former All-Pro is announced inactive, but they have seemed to adapt well to his absence this season. In addition, his contract takes up a big chunk of cap space, leaving fans to question if moving on from Thomas is a good option.
However, the additional injuries on offense include some at the same position. Jarvis Landry has not played often this year after dealing with an ankle injury. He missed another game on Monday night against the Ravens, making it the fifth straight week without him.
The team’s anticipated top two receivers have not been available for over a month and have thrust an undrafted rookie into a more prominent role. The Saints’ WR core (without Landry or Thomas) consists of Chris Olave, Tre’Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway, and Rashid Shaheed. Olave is their current WR1 and has proved they don’t need someone new to fill the role of the “top guy.”
He leads all rookies in receiving yards (547). But, aside from him, we don’t see a player who can take the reigns as the top receiver. Callaway had his chance last year and failed to surpass 700 yards.
Who is the Free Agent That The Saints Could Consider Signing?
A man who is capable of taking the reigns? Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. is coming off a torn ACL he suffered in last year’s Super Bowl. As he nears his full recovery, he has been gaining much attention from other teams. So should the Saints throw their name into the hat?
In 2021, including playoffs (21 receptions, 288 yards, and two touchdowns), OBJ racked up 65 receptions, 825 yards, and seven touchdowns. These stats are more than the leading receiver of the Saints has gotten in the last two years.
Beckham played 18 games last season, more than Michael Thomas has played in the previous two, going on three years.
Although he is coming off of an ACL injury, he has been very productive and showed how valuable he was last season.
Why Shouldn’t The Saints Sign Beckham?
While the Saints have dealt with many injuries, the offense has not struggled. The Saints have put up just under 30 points per game without Thomas and Landry. Andy Dalton has been able to lead this offense to success throwing for 234 yards per game with a 63% completion rate. Not the most eye-popping number, but enough to keep New Orleans in the game as they’ve gone 2-2 in that time, each loss coming by one possession.
Additionally, while the team is still a lackluster 3-6 on the year, they are still in the race for the NFC South. Bringing in a new face to the locker room to try to develop chemistry with could deter the offense, which could be better in a race where every game is crucial.
Finally, the Saints have one of the highest-paid receivers in the league Michael Thomas. According to an article from Bleacher Report, Odell was seeking a “Michael Gallup-type offer.”
Looking back at the Saints’ offseason, you will see they were $70+ million over the cap. After numerous released and contract restructures, the team finally got back into positive cap space. Even though Mickey Loomis works wonders with the cap, and I am sure he will work more of his magic this offseason as well, adding a Michael Gallup-type contract on top of Thomas’s contract does not seem like the best idea.
Overall the Saints have adapted to multiple injuries, and they don’t look like they need to break the bank and invest in a big-name receiver. However, any team would benefit from a player like OBJ, who has proven he is a playmaker and can show up when needed.