Michael Thomas And Jameis Winston Officially Released From The New Orleans Saints As Of The First Of June

With their release from the team now official, a look back at the careers of Michael Thomas and Jameis Winston with the Saints.
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New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas and QB Jameis Winston are officially released today. New Orleans is projected to pick up around $2.4 million in additional cap space with these two players officially coming off the books. However, each player will carry a dead cap number for the Saints over the next couple of seasons because of prior restructures.

JAMEIS WINSTON LEAVES THE BAYOU FOR THE DAWG POUND

Jameis Winston, who has since signed with the Cleveland Browns, had been with the Saints since 2020. He was originally the first overall choice in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a Heisman Trophy and National Championship at Florida State.

In five seasons with the Buccaneers, Winston completed 61.3% of his throws for 19,737 yards with 121 touchdowns and 88 interceptions. His best season was 2019, when he threw for a league-high 5,109 yards with 33 touchdowns but also threw an NFL-worst 30 interceptions.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions
New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Winston was signed by the Saints as a free agent in 2020. After a year as a backup, he'd replace the retired Drew Brees in 2021. Winston opened the year 5-2 as a starter with 1,170 passing yards and 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions before being lost for the season with a knee injury.

Back as a starter in 2022, Winston played in three contests before being sidelined again by foot and back injuries. He was medically cleared to play for the final stretch of the season but remained a backup to Andy Dalton. New Orleans would bring him back in 2023, this time as a backup to Derek Carr. He appeared in seven contests as an injury replacement or for mop-up duty.

Over his four seasons with the Saints, Winston saw significant action in 14 games with 10 starts. He completed 59.9% of his passes for 2,367 yards with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) catches a pass against the Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) catches a pass against the Carolina Panthers / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

MICHAEL THOMAS HAS TEAMS INTERESTED

Michael Thomas joined the Saints as a second-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. He was an immediate sensation, catching 92 passes for 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. Even better in 2017, Thomas had 1,245 yards and five scores while setting a new franchise record with 104 receptions.


Breaking his own team record with an NFL-leading 125 receptions in 2018, Thomas also set a new franchise record with 1,405 receiving yards while scoring nine times. He'd reach achieve new heights the following season.


In 2019, Thomas broke a 17-year NFL single-season record with an eye-popping 149 receptions. He'd also lead the league with 1,745 yards, breaking his own franchise record, while catching nine scoring passes. Those achievements earned him the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year award.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) catches a pass over Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell (24)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) catches a pass over Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell (24) / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Leg injuries short-circuited the record-breaking career of Thomas the last few seasons. He'd miss nine games in 2020 and the entire 2021 campaign, while sidelining him for 21 of a possible 34 contests the last two seasons.


Thomas, 31, had 39 receptions for 448 yards in 10 games last season. Yet, he remains unsigned. Kyle T. Mosley of the Saints News Network writes that a handful of teams have reportedly shown interest in the record-breaking wideout.


Michael Thomas holds most of the Saints single-game and single-season franchise receiving records. Thomas leaves New Orleans second in franchise history for career receptions (565), fourth in career receiving yardage (6,569), with his 36 touchdown receptions ranking seventh in team history.


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Bob Rose

BOB ROSE

Covers the New Orleans Saints as a senior writer for the Saints News Network.  Co-Host of the Bayou Blitz Podcast.