Sean Payton says Cam Jordan deserved extention, is "sure" Michael Thomas is next

Payton gives his thoughts after minicamp practice

Seth Dunlap
June 11, 2019 - 8:56 pm
Sean Payton at Saints minicamp

Seth Dunlap, WWL.com

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The New Orleans Saints were just minutes past the finish of their first minicamp practice, but when head coach Sean Payton stepped in front of the media throng gathered outside of team headquarters in Metairie, the conversation quickly shifted to news of a new contract agreement with one of their defensive stars.

Reports of an extension with All-Pro defensive end Cam Jordan began leaking earlier in the day, with those reports indicating the new deal would keep Jordan in a Saints' uniform for the next five seasons.  Terms of the agreement haven't been released, but the deal is reportedly a three-year extension worth $52.5 million.

Keeping Jordan in New Orleans long-term was a top priority for the franchise this offseason, and Payton said the extension was well deserved.

"I am coming off the field (after practice), but I knew they were working on an extension. I think that it is much deserved and he's someone that has been extremely productive. I think it's a good thing.” 

It's no secret that Jordan brings immense value to the franchise off the field, becoming a leader in the locker room and community.  Payton said everybody recognizes how Jordan leads by example.

“He's one of the leaders. We go back to the ‘11 draft when we took him. I think, number one, you lead with your performance and work on the field. He's one of those guys that's in great shape. He trains hard. I think it starts with the way he prepares.” 

Here's where things got interesting.  Payton, just finished being peppered by reporters on Jordan's extension, was then asked about Michael Thomas' maturity on the field, and the impressive numbers Thomas has put up the past few seasons in New Orleans.  Payton answered that question by discussing Thomas' contract negotiations.

“He’s been very consistent and he’ll be the next one I am sure. Mickey (Loomis) will be working. I know that they probably have already begun discussions. I leave that to those guys to handle. He competes, he is durable, and he is someone that enjoys playing.”

Thomas, who is entering the finals year of his rookie contract, has certainly done enough on the field to earn a new deal.  He's caught 321 passes for 3,787 yards and 23 touchdowns during his three seasons in the league.  The Ohio State product has quickly become one of the premier receivers in the NFL, and he'll be seeking top-tier money.  It's likely the Saints would need to make him the highest paid receiver in the league to entice him to sign an extension.

That would be breaking with team precedent, however, as Loomis & Co. have consistently shied away from paying top-flight money for any receiver, even the more talented players they've had at the position.  Yet it's also uncharacteristic of Payton to offer, unsolicited, his analysis of pending contract negotiations.  When Payton says he is "sure" that Thomas will be next, perhaps he just meant that the negotiations with Thomas will be next, not an actual signed-and-sealed deal.  The way Payton quickly walked the comments back, however, sure makes it seem like the long-tenured head coach realized he has a slip of the tongue and worked quickly to correct himself.

In any case, the team's negotiations with Thomas are now front-and-center. It will be incredibly interesting to see if the two sides do come to an agreement for a long-term extension.

Watch Sean Payton's full post-practice press conference in the video below, including his evaluation of newly signed free agents and first-year rookies.

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