Thomas finished the season with an NFL record 149 catches for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. In the NFC Wild Card Round against the Minnesota Vikings, Thomas caught seven passes for 70 yards during the 26–20 overtime loss. Thomas was named to the Pro Bowl and earned First Team All-Pro honors. On February 1, 2020, Thomas was awarded AP Offensive Player of the Year for his performance during the 2019 season, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award since Jerry Rice in 1993. He was ranked fifth by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2020.
Michael William Thomas Jr. (born March 3, 1993) is an American football wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Ohio State. Thomas holds the record for the most receptions by a player in a single season with 149 in 2019. He led the league in receptions in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons, while also leading the league in yardage in the 2019 season. He was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2019.
In the season-opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Thomas caught a franchise-record 16 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown, breaking the century-mark for the fourth time in his career and eclipsing 200-career receptions. The 16 receptions were the most by any player for the 2018 season for a single game. The next week, he scored twice more with 89 yards on 12 catches in a 21–18 win over the Cleveland Browns. With his 12 receptions, Thomas set an NFL record for the most catches in the first two games with 28, the record previously held by Andre Rison with 26 set in 1994. In Week 3, he added 10 receptions for 129 yards against the Atlanta Falcons. His 38 receptions through the first three games were the most in NFL history.
Thomas finished the season with 125 receptions for 1,405 yards and nine touchdowns. He led the league in receptions and finished sixth in the league in receiving yards. He also set the Saints franchise record in receiving yards, passing Joe Horn's 1,399 yards set in 2004. He was named to his second straight Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro. He was ranked 13th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2019.
Thomas played in 11 games as a true freshman in 2012. He had three receptions for 22 yards in the 2012 season. As a sophomore in 2013, Thomas was redshirted.
Thomas entered his redshirt sophomore season in 2014 as a backup, but eventually took over as a starting wide receiver. He ended the season leading the team in receptions with 54 for 799 yards and nine touchdowns. In the National Semifinals against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, he had seven receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
In his second season, Thomas came into the year as the Saints' number one receiver after Brandin Cooks was traded to the New England Patriots. He was named to his first Pro Bowl. He finished the season with 104 receptions for 1,245 yards and five touchdowns. His 104 receptions finished third in the NFL, and his 196 receptions in his first two seasons in the league were the most in NFL history, passing Jarvis Landry's 194 set in 2015. Thomas appeared in his first career playoff game on January 7, 2018, against division rival Carolina in the Wild Card Round. He recorded eight receptions for 131 yards in the 31–26 win. In the Divisional Round against the Minnesota Vikings, he had seven receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns in the 29–24 loss. He earned a Pro Bowl nomination for his 2017 season. Thomas was ranked 81st by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.
In the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship victory over Oregon, he had four receptions for 53 yards. In the 2015 season, he had 56 receptions for 781 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. On January 5, 2016, he announced his intention to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
On May 9, 2016, the Saints signed Thomas to a four-year, $5.11 million contract with $2.60 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $1.92 million.
The Saints named Thomas one of their starting wide receivers, along with Brandin Cooks, for the season opener against the Oakland Raiders. He finished his first NFL start with six receptions for 58 yards. On September 26, 2016, he caught his first NFL touchdown on a three-yard pass from Drew Brees during the second quarter of a Monday Night Football matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Thomas finished the 45–32 loss with seven catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. On October 23, 2016, he had his first game with over 100 receiving yards after he finished with a season-high ten receptions for 130 yards in a 21–27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. During a Week 9 road game against the San Francisco 49ers, Thomas caught two touchdowns and made five catches for 73 yards, as the Saints routed the 49ers by a score of 41–23. On November 27, Thomas caught nine passes for 108 yards and tied his season-high of two touchdown receptions in a 49–21 win over the Los Angeles Rams. In the regular season finale against the Falcons, he had 10 receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown in the 38–32 loss. During his rookie season, Thomas set franchise records for a rookie in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns.
On July 31, 2019, Thomas signed a five-year, $100 million contract extension with $61 million guaranteed with the Saints. This made Thomas the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL at the time.
In Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Thomas recorded three catches for 17 yards before exiting the game due to a high ankle sprain. Thomas was set to return to action in Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football, but on October 11, 2020, Thomas was declared inactive for the game by the Saints after he punched teammate C. J. Gardner-Johnson in practice. Thomas was also fined $58,823 by the team for the incident.
Thomas made his return from injury in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football. During the game, Thomas led the team with five catches for 51 yards during the 38–3 win. In Week 11 against the Atlanta Falcons, Thomas recorded nine catches for 104 yards during the 24–9 win. This was Thomas' first 100-yard receiving game of the season. He was placed on injured reserve on December 19, 2020, due to the lingering ankle injury. He was activated on January 9, 2021.
Thomas returned from his injury in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, where he caught five passes for 57 yards, and two touchdowns in the 27-26 comeback win. Thomas recorded another productive game in Week 2 with six out of nine receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown in a 20-10 loss to the Buccaneers. During a Week 3 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, Thomas exited the game early with a foot injury and went on to miss multiple weeks before being placed on injured reserve on November 3, 2022, ending his season.