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Saints can't avoid Michael Thomas, Cameron Jordan megadeals much longer

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The New Orleans Saints should be grateful that wide receiver Michael Thomas and defensive end Cameron Jordan aren't forcing any contract standoffs just yet. Both of the All-Pro stars were back on the practice field this week as the Saints began OTAs.

"I'm a football player first -- I like being at work. So it wasn't really hard to make a decision [to attend OTAs]," Thomas told ESPN -- a similar sentiment that Jordan shared earlier this offseason.

But the Saints should have their checkbooks, calculators and spreadsheets ready nonetheless. Because the downside of building a roster this loaded is that it starts to become very expensive to keep everyone around.

After this season, Thomas, Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater and Andrus Peat, among others, are scheduled to become free agents. In 2021, Jordan, Alvin Kamara, Larry Warford and Demario Davis come due. In 2022, it'll be Marshon Lattimore, Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk.
Thomas, who turned 26 in March, is scheduled to make just $1.15 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal. That's an incredible amount of bang for the buck, considering he has averaged 107 catches, 1,262 yards and eight touchdowns per season over his first three years. His 321 catches are the most in NFL history by a receiver in his first three years. Odell Beckham Jr. is second with 288.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

"Can't Guard Mike" set franchise records last season with 125 catches and 1,405 receiving yards for a team that struggled to find other reliable pass-catchers. And his playoff numbers are even better: 31 catches for 423 yards and three TDs in four games.

It's not out of the question that Thomas could become the NFL's first receiver to average $20 million per year (unless Julio Jones gets there first).

You know, your standard 1,642 percent pay raise.4

Thomas could have made things very awkward this summer for the Saints, who have only $7.5 million in salary-cap space. He has every right to demand a new deal and threaten to hold out of minicamp and training camp, considering the Saints could also get a bargain next year if they slap the franchise tag on him.

But so far, Thomas is still showing up at the office.nfl cheap jerseys nike

"I feel pretty certain that everything will get taken care of and handled professionally," Thomas said. "This is how I approach the game and how I show up to work the same way, and everything else will take care of itself."

Jordan has taken the same approach (although he can't help himself from chiming in on Twitter every time another NFL edge rusher like DeMarcus Lawrence or Frank Clark cashes in).

Although Jordan wasn't at Thursday's practice, he has been participating this week. And he told ESPN earlier this offseason that he plans to do the same all summer.

Jordan doesn't have quite the same case for a new deal as Thomas, since he has two years left on a five-year extension that he signed in 2015 worth between $55 million and $60 million.

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