Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Strief: Saints WR Thomas would be justified in holding out

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As Saints star wide receiver Michael Thomas enters 2019, he’s staring down the final year of a rookie contract that he has vastly outplayed after putting up production previously unseen in the first three years of any NFL player’s career. No NFL player in history has caught more balls in their first three seasons than Thomas.

Now the question becomes: Will Thomas report Tuesday for the Saints’ voluntary offseason training program or sit out in the hopes of jumpstarting negotiations on a new contract?

Monday afternoon on WWL Radio’s Sports Talk, the “voice of the Saints” Zach Strief said Thomas would be justified in staying home.

“Mike has nothing left to prove,” Strief said. “There’s nothing Mike can do in the next year to make himself more valuable. He’s wildly underpaid. If Mike decides he’s not going to go to those workouts, first of all, he can do that if he just signed a five-year, $100 million contract. Because like you said, these are voluntary workouts.”

Strief went on to say that Thomas has to do what he believes is best for him.

“I think it’s important to Mike to be there,” Strief said. “But I also think that if Mike was getting advice that this was the right thing to do, that you’re never gonna get this done without not showing up. I would fully support Mike in doing that. I think it’s fully understandable.”

Strief said that while NFL owners and front offices claim to frown on the practice of holding out, it is difficult to argue against its effectiveness.

“I think you can look at the history of the NFL,” Strief said. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The guys that hold out and do those things, most of the time those are the guys that get paid early.”

However, Strief cautioned that while the strategy may work elsewhere, paying players before the end of their current deals is generally not how the Saints do businesss.

“I think it all starts at the top,” Strief said. “Drew Brees has played out contracts. It’s really hard when you’re on that roster underneath, and the Saints are saying, ‘We didn’t even pay him early.’”

You can hear more of Strief’s thoughts on a potential Michael Thomas holdout by clicking the podcast link.

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