Much Like Almost Every Football Thrown in His General Direction the Last Three Years, 100 Million Dollar Mike Finally Secured His Bag
It might read like a weird thing to write about a contract negotiation that resulted in a star player’s absence from a Super Bowl contender’s training camp, but I don’t think there was a more fitting way for the New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas to finally commit to each other for the next five years. Honestly, given everything we’ve come to know of a braintrust that’s always been bullish on their ability to replace skill position players who are up for a raise and a wideout who was aggressively and openly aware of his need for a massive one, it wouldn’t have felt right had the two sides been ready to break the bank immediately after breaking the proverbial bread. If it had been as easy as we were being led to believe prior to his holdout, I’d have spent more time trying to find a catch than the Saints’ offense when Michael Thomas wasn’t the intended target last season. Therefore, in the sense that some of Mickey Loomis' funny money was necessary in the making of a milestone extension, the extra time it took to get signed, sealed, and delivered really reinforced the belief that Michael Thomas is the perfect Saint, as he basically reflects the near-stubborn confidence of the front office that just rewarded it.
Please allow me a 50 mile head-start before telling him I said so, but Michael Thomas isn’t the best wide receiver in the National Football League. What he is, however, is close enough to that crown to quite easily justify leveraging the Saints’ over-reliance on his efforts in the passing game into an amount of zeros previously unmatched amongst offensive players that don’t wear a different color jersey at this time of year. What he might lack in game-breaking ability he makes up for in the proficiency of his efficiency. Never mind keeping happy the go-to guy that’s helped a first ballot HOFer age gracefully as he looks to add another ring to his finger before waving goodbye to the game. Think it might matter that when Drew Brees inevitably rides off into the sunset that his replacement will be lucky enough to throw to a reliable playmaker who is such a guarantee to catch everything thrown in his general vicinity that it makes you believe he can't possibly come as advertised without there being some tomfoolery in the fine print?
Historical precedent might say that paying top-dollar for receivers doesn’t result in a high level of organizational success, but all that history serves as to a player as profoundly prideful as Michael Thomas is a challenge...
We're talking about someone who is so self-motivated that I wouldn't be surprised if his biggest rival was his mirror. Someone who relies just as much, if not more so, on expertise as athleticism. Someone whose attitude and work ethic are infectious throughout the locker room. Position aside, Michael Thomas is the type of competitor you don't mind paying big money to because he makes everyone better and there is no amount of dollars that could pay away his undying desire to be dominant.
Of course, the Saints really had no choice but to pay him big money as the window to win a championship is closing by the day and they certainly weren't doing so without #13 on the field drawing attention and bullying open passing windows for Drew Brees. Still, the concerns that come with paying a premium for a pass-catcher aren't as worrisome when said pass-catcher has a chip on his shoulder than even surgery couldn’t remove and fully bought into a cohesive culture long before his annual salary allowed him to buy any damn thing he pleases.
The Torch of New Orleans' Sports Could Soon be up for a Passing if Drew Brees' Gift to Zion Williamson Is Any Indication
I don't want to hate too hard on Anthony Davis here. After all, in many ways, him becoming a villain in New Orleans after spending year and year personally flourishing on a floundering team that greatly needed a reality check has inherently made Zion Williamson all the more galvanizing to a city that might soon be in need of another "savior". Rich Paul depositing that reality check by trying to...ahem...Klutch the Pelicans by the balls mid-season really woke the front office up to the fact that their franchise was largely seen as a farce.
More importantly, it presumably inspired the organizational overhaul that got kickstarted with the hiring of an accomplished exec like David Griffin and got put into overdrive by some prosperous ping pong balls. The Pelicans no longer being treated like a second-class citizen internally has made the external shift in optimism all the more possible, and it's impossible to know if things would have been so quick to change if not for the embarrassing public spectacle of the Anthony Davis saga.
That said, while also taking into consideration the imprisonment of the moment, the aura surrounding this 1st overall selection as opposed to that of his premier predecessor just feels so much different. Anthony Davis both was and is a transcendent talent in his own right, but as the forward-facing ambassador for a long-suffering franchise and the city they call home, Zion Williamson appears to have a Drew Brees-lite type "it" factor.
Lord willing, the circumstances surrounding the arrival of the current torch-carrier will never again be replicated, as his impact was unimpeachable for reasons far beyond a resurgence in sport. However, I don't think #9 is merely "passing it on", figuratively speaking, because he's on his last leg as an elite arm in the NFL or because he received strict instructions to go out of his way to be overly complimentary to make the newest member of a tight-knit community feel welcome. I'm probably unwrapping far too much from a gift that required no ripping or tearing. Still, if I can see that Zion Williamson has the rare mix of personality, potential, and magnetism that can make him a larger-than-life figure both on and off the court then surely so does the regional diplomat of a future HOF quarterback that implied as much in a message that, in an already large frame, made mention of an even bigger picture.
I don't know that the Pelicans can ever come anywhere close to reaching a Saints-like level of importance in New Orleans, as Sundays are basically a cult-like spiritual experience in and around the parish that lays claim to the insanely excitable church that is the SuperDome. However, their stars might soon have the capability to shine somewhat close to as brightly throughout the city and that alone would be a massive shift in the right direction for what's been, until recently, a red-headed stepchild of a professional basketball team.
The Saints Sound Willing to Pay Top-Dollar to Keep Michael Thomas Happy, As They Know Better Than Anyone That He's Not Someone You Want to Make Mad
Money. If you've been paying any attention whatsoever to Michael Thomas' social media presence, two themes were mistakable. The first being an unrelenting adoration of all things New Orleans, and the second was...you guessed it...money. After both statistically and aggressively proving every team that passed on him wrong, multiple times over, a higher grade of fuel was needed to keep accelerating his eternally dissatisfied drive to remain dominant, and what motivator throws more gas on a competitive fire than money?
Unfortunately, being on an insatiable search to secure the bag meant that the adversary most likely to become the target of Michael Thomas' immutable irritability was the franchise for which he has become an emotional leader. For that reason, this surprise that Mickey Loomis and New Orleans Saints are, for the first time in a long time, more than willing to break the bank on a skill position is a pleasant one that serves as precautionary damage control to what could have pretty easily become a distraction.
The wide receiver that proved, time and time again, that you can't guard him has earned a payday unprecedented at his position, and giving Michael Thomas the ability to flex on every last one of his peers by offering him what he earned is the best way to keep his eyes laser-focused on a much more elusive prize. The thing that made him so great, with that being hyper-competitiveness, is also one of the only things that could have caused a rift in an otherwise cohesive culture if he, rightfully or wrongfully, felt disrespected within his own organization. Said organization appears ready to reinforce what's been an insanely productive relationship in approximately 100 million different ways, and the negotiating table was exponentially more likely to be the place where it went awry than the football field or the locker room.
Now, I do have a slight hesitancy towards setting the market for a pass catcher when they haven't proven to be a time-honored piece to the championship puzzle, but Michael Thomas is the type of irreplaceable playmaker that can help ease an inevitable transition from an elite quarterback. He's a prominent member of a young, talented core, and if the Saints are going to keep open their window after they, Lord willing, send Drew Brees off into the sunset with a second Super Bowl then they are going to need to both retain and lean heavily on said core.
To put it another way, I can promise you that this implication that a deal is all but done sits well Teddy Bridgewater, so it stands to reason that it should also set well with the fans who expect to see him starting under center sooner rather than later. Michael Thomas has proven too money not to be paid handsomely, and doing so now should keep happy a guy who, as opposing corners can attest, you certainly don't want to see mad.
The Saints and Michael Thomas Have Begun Talks on an Extension, So Cue the Cautious Optimism of What is a Prematurely Positive Development
PFT- Payton said that the team and Thomas “probably have already begun discussions” about an extension. Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis confirmed that was the case during an appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio without saying much else about where things stand.
“Yeah, listen, we’ve had some conversations, and I like keeping that close to the vest until there’s something to report,” Loomis said. “Look, we love what Mike’s done for us. He’s a fantastic player, one of the best at his position in the league, and hopefully we can keep him as a Saint for a longtime as well.”
Thomas, who is in the final year of his rookie deal, said last month that he’s “pretty certain that everything will get taken care of” in time to ensure he stays in New Orleans.
Realistically, the only thing to take away from this relatively meaningless morsel of information is that both the New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas are interested in prolonging what only the incredibly cocksure Ohio State product could have predicted to be as mutually beneficial a relationship as it has been. Seeing as it's not all that surprising that a player who has embraced all things New Orleans and a team that is currently at its most promising due in large part to his productivity are interested in lasting the long haul, I can't put too much stock in the fact that contract talks have commenced. I suppose it's a good sign that said contract talks haven't sent Michael Thomas into one of his infamous Twitter tirades, but I'd imagine that things are still quite far from a done deal.
Simply put, when it comes down to brass tacks, there's not one single reason to believe that an athlete who has made no bones about being in search of a secure bag will waive any sort of tax on behalf of anyone. In order to get Michael Thomas to legitimately listen, the money is going to have to talk. That same money has been hesitant to speak to other prominent playmakers that have, to varying extents, been a product of Sean Payton's offensively-friendly system. I don't doubt that it will actually raise its voice this time around, as Michael Thomas has both the tools and early resume to be far and away the best wide receiver in Saints' history. I do, however, wonder whether it'll boast loudly enough to out-annunciate the entirety of a market that Michael Thomas might very well envision himself setting, despite it being one that hasn't historically returned too many titles from the top down.
Someone who has backed up his moniker in proving pretty damn unguardable has already made as great a case to break the bank on the field as he has on social media, so time will tell if two, at times, temperamental sides can come to terms. However, barring a sizable concession one way or the other, I can't exactly see that time being upon us.
This isn't a particularly surprising viewpoint from a player who has appeared fairly care-free in taking things as they come throughout a rocky (top) ride to the peak of his profession. In a lot of ways, Alvin Kamara's public persona comes off as the polar opposite of Michael Thomas', in that he remains pretty low-key in taking anything he may or may not take personally in a familiarly smooth stride. For that reason, I hardly envisioned him bashing those that were laughably far-sighted in not being able to see clearly an unprecedented playmaker while he was directly under their nose.
That said, can you imagine being one of the coaches that so poorly mismanaged the otherworldly talents of someone who went on to become the NFL's Offensive Player of The Year that said talents waited until the second day of the draft to get selected? Butch Jones has since been humbled, as he was interning as Nick Saban's most trusted window washer while Alvin Kamara was turning in a studly sophomore season...
However, I wouldn't be surprised if his original reality check came in the form of watching #41 make a stage out of every single Sunday. In fact, I don't even know how you don't look in the mirror after one of your offensive afterthoughts immediately becomes the NFL's ultimate X-factor, and question your entire life's work as a coach. Alvin Kamara is so preposterously versatile that you have to actively try harder to underutilize him that badly than you do to utilize him to the best of his abilities. We're talking eating steak with a spoon levels of stupid. If the former brain trust at Tennessee couldn't figure that out over the course of one single New Orleans Saints' offensive series then merely telling them how dumb their depth chart was when Jalen Hurd was a top it certainly isn't going to do the trick.
Cam Jordan's Wish is New Orleans' Command, As He Officially Signed the Extension That Should Make Him a "Saints' Lifer"
There's one thing that the Saints can cross off from the top of their to-do list, and considering Cam Jordan's unwaveringly elite impact on the field and his leadership off of it, they can do so with a shit-eating grin on their collective face.
As proven by Mark Ingram's dumbfounding departure, nothing about the cutthroat business of the NFL is inevitable. So, while this extension felt as though it was only a matter of time, it's comforting that said time has already come. As expected from someone who made his intentions to be a "Saints' lifer" known, Cam Jordan - who had every right to break Mickey Loomis' bank as the most versatile of All-Pro pass-rushers - agreed to leave a little money on the table in exchange for the majority of that which he will take home being almost as guarantee as (::knock on wood::) his dominant presence on the defensive line...
With the negotiations of Sheldon Rankins, Alvin Kamara, Marshon Lattimore, and especially Michael Thomas looming all-too-rapidly, it's nice to put any order of business in the rearview. Even if it is just business as usual with a player who, quite frankly, has been too understanding in offering up (adopted) hometown discounts for performances and production that are consistently above his pay grade.
New Orleans' defense might as well revolve around Cam Jordan with how reliably revered he's been throughout his career, and he more than deserved to get compensated for his role as its brightest star until he retires as an absolute shoe-in for the Saints' Hall of Fame.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Certainly Isn't Short on Confidence, As He Randomly Challenged LeBron's Receiving Prowess on Twitter For Some Reason
I can't imagine it's all that important to Chauncey Gardner-Johnson's impending NFL journey that he is willing to test his coverage capabilities against one of the most transcendent athletes playing an entirely different sport, while he is on the downside of his career in said sport, free of charge. After all, he's actually being paid to lock up actual football players, so it stands to reason that should be pretty far ahead atop the list of his priorities.
Nonsensical cross-sport competitiveness aside, however, I absolutely love the level of self-contained cockiness he's shown, both on and off the field, since his suspiciously belated selection. I'd certainly hope he could mirror the rudimentary and rounded-off routes of a 34-year old NBA player, no matter how freakish his athleticism, but that's not really the point. The point is that the Saints' 4th round pick will fit right into the collectively confident culture of New Orleans' secondary as he has a 1st round grade when it comes to unabashedly believing in his talent.
Considering the dynamic versatility of said talent, as well as the quickness with which he flashed it during practices that far and away favor the offense, there's reasons to believe that we'll be seeing it trusted in far more important circumstances than lined up opposite LeBron sooner rather than later.
Thomas Morstead Posted Some of His Insane Workout Clips on the Internet, And All He Received in Return Was a Piss Test
Honestly, fair is fair. You'd have to have banged your head on that self-important shield one too many times to still be under the illusion that the NFL only drug tests randomly and, as far as non-random drug tests are concerned, Thomas Morstead has earned more than his fair share as an All-Pro fitness freak with a diabolical amount of dad strength. Personally, I was already half surprised they didn't make him piss in a cup before leaving the field after every absurdly powerful pinpoint punt...
So, if anything, he's really been running up the score on the league's eternally suspicious urine collectors by publicizing extreme feats of athleticism, that are entirely unfitting of his position, on the internet. Even as a Saints' fan that should be used to them by now, I still have a hard time comprehending just how lethal and finely tuned Thomas Morstead's weapons are as a workout warrior. Therefore, I'm not exactly at liberty to question the NFL for being in disbelief that his 33-year-old body is only the product of a collaboration with a more socially acceptable brand of juicers. The guy is simply in pristine shape as both a punter and a person, and with the ability to casually crush high-level calisthenics like they are a basic crunch comes the requests to prove your ass hasn't been needled more than that of a stay-at-home father.
Cam Jordan is More Concerned With Being a "Saints Lifer" Than He is With Amount of Money It'll Take to Make That Happen
PFT- Jordan has two years left on his five-year, $55 million extension, but the guys performing at his level are making about double that on average. And with a pair of All-Pro honors in the last two years, Jordan’s poised to eventually get a raise,
“All that can take care of itself. Honestly, I just want to be a Saints lifer. I want to go after this record by Rickey [Jackson],” Jordan said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “I would love to say, ‘Hey, I want a megadeal.’ I don’t really. I just want to be secure in my job. Now to be sure, do I need to be updated? No doubt. But do I want to be like, ‘Hey, I want to break Aaron Donald bank or go after Khalil Mack money even though I have better than Khalil Mack numbers in most categories?’ No. For me it’s all about just being around my team, making sure that my family and my team is gonna be my family and my team for as long as I can play.
“When it comes down to it, I feel like to miss out on training camp two years out is just no point. I feel like the Saints and I have a phenomenal repertoire, so why would I want to damage that? For me it’s not even about money; it’s about solidifying a legacy. It’s about pushing and furthering what I’m doing. And I love our team to the fact that I want to continue doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve gone through some 7-9 seasons, but we’ve gone through some great times as well.”
I hesitate to heap too much praise on NFL stars that honor the entirety of their contracts or take a discount in extending them. After all, I'm totally cool with football players going just about every route short of the Psycho St. that Antonio Brown took in milking an exceedingly short career path, that could literally kill you, for all that it's worth.
That said, from the selfish point of view of a Saints' fan, it's refreshing to hear such an unselfish perspective from an eternally underrated player whose controlled cockiness can be seen throughout every corner of the organization. With Mark Ingram in Baltimore, Cam Jordan isn't just a team leader but also the pacesetter for the Saints' collective personality. The culture that's been built in New Orleans is basically a reflection of a well-respected veteran like himself. Therefore, for him to refuse to put up any sort of stink regarding the return on his on-field investment, despite being egregiously underpaid almost every single season he's been a Saint, only bodes well for the example he can continue to set in the locker room.
Now, do I think that Cameron Jordan having motivations other than money is going to stop someone like Michael Thomas from seeing dollar signs (or incessantly posting about them on social media) in his highly spirited effort to secure a bank-breaking bag? Absolutely not, nor should it. I do, however, think that it can only make lower the chances that even his most financially fueled teammates will make things messy when it comes to making sure they get their money. Mark Ingram's depressing departure was a harsh reminder that the NFL is and will always be a cutthroat business, but having an insanely talented and accomplished player who is as much a "brand loyalist" as he is a businessman can only help set a more selfless standard during the season.
Cam Jordan has, ::knock on wood::, been mystifyingly healthy throughout his illustrious career, so it's not out of the question that a brush with NFL mortality puts money more on his mind. For now, him having a well-deserved payday prioritized behind only leaving New Orleans as a "Saints lifer" is the exactly the type of mindset you'd want out of someone who leads as much through on-field example as he does off-field emotion.
If You Happen to Have $10,000 to Burn Then Ted Ginn Jr. Will Gladly Kick Up Loose Asphalt Into Your Face
When you take into account that Ted Ginn Jr. is 34 years old, it becomes pretty bold of him to offer a challenge that upwards of 100 of his much younger peers would probably feel pretty confident in accepting. That being said, of those 100 peers, I'm not sure there's too many you'd trust more than a guy that's survived 12 seasons almost solely on speed.
The Saints' offensive struggles with Ted Ginn Jr. out of the lineup last season, despite the arm of Drew Brees also having a relatable inability to keep up with his legs, speak to him being something more than a one trick thoroughbred. Still, as a deep threat with suspect hands he's probably the closest thing that the NFL has to one. The guy has been sprinting past his potential replacements for years now and he hasn't exactly been doing so with a dearth of deception, so I don't see why anyone would feel particularly good about betting their finances against his forte. I'm sure there are a few people faster, but I can't imagine that it's more than a handful that should feel five figures worth of self-assurance in their ability to go light pole to light pole quicker than someone who has almost strictly been going for broke against the most finely tuned physical specimens on the planet for well over a decade.
Credit to Sean Payton for doing his side job as an unofficial ambassador for a tightly knit sports' city in finding a lighthearted way to prematurely welcome a larger than life entity who is set to become NOLA's next big thing as his eventual neighbor. A clever co-sign from the Saints' beloved coach certainly won't add to Zion Williamson's alleged skepticism regarding the instantly reinvigorated regional interest in a Pelicans' team with which they share ownership.
That said, while that tweet was clearly in jest, you are beside your mind if you don't think Zion Williamson could be schemed into a Pro Bowl using only the play designs that Sean Payton will involuntarily dream up after posting that photoshop. In every good joke there is a hint of truth, and the truth is that football's most beautiful mind had a hell of a lot more than one thought running around it in when he found out he'd be sharing city limits with an entirely unprecedented athletic specimen that could crunch the mold of every competitor that's come before him in between his thumb and his forefinger.
For a pioneer of a play caller whose fancy appears to be tickled to near orgasmic levels every time Taysom Hill adds yet another stat to his line, you can bet your ass that being within a stone's throw of the lovechild of LeBron James and 'The Incredible Hulk' has him fluffed up off his own fan fiction. What you can't have is always what you want the most. Therefore, you can undoubtedly consider Zion Williamson to be the white whale that has Sean Payton overwhelmed like a toddler in a toy store and salivating over the X's and O's of sketches that are nothing short of sci-fi while laughing maniacally over a growing fascination with what type of godforsaken things he could be capable of on the gridiron in an alternate universe.
The Saints Declined the 5th Year Option on Eli Apple's Rookie Contract, Which Makes Far More Sense Than it Seems
I'll admit, it initially took me by surprise too. At the very least, Eli Apple proved himself a quality starting corner after being granted a change of scenery that is basically the NFL equivalent of going from the inside of a volcano to...well...New Orleans. It stands to reason that the Saints, if given the option, would extend the stay of someone who helped change the fortunes of what was, at points, a pathetic pass defense opposite Marshon Lattimore.
What said reason didn't take into account, however, is price...
With that $13.7 million figure in mind, a much more shocking headline would be "Saints opt to give an 11 million dollar raise to a #2 corner who struggles with consistency a year in advance of seeing what he's able to provide during his first full season in the organization".
Fact is, New Orleans simply isn't in a position to prematurely commit that much money to a complimentary player. At 23 years old and having penned half a chapter of his redemption story, Eli Apple still falls into the category of "young talent". He just not the youngest or most talented on a roster that's largely in need of a raise. As much as emotionally abused Giants' fans don't want to hear it, that doesn't mean the midseason trade that aided the Saints as much as it aided his confidence was a failure. Hell, it doesn't even necessarily mean his departure is imminent. It just means that his future is a negotiation for another day, as the price to be paid for consecutive seasons of incredible drafting takes priority over hindering their forward flexibility by paying a premium for a non-premier player in a salary capped league.
Texas A&M's Erik McCoy Sure Seems Happy to Have Been Chosen to Solidify the Saints' Offensive Line Depth
Let me first say that I have nothing bad to say about the Saints' decision to trade up to get the guy they clearly wanted...
That's partially because Millennial Mickey and Shortsighted Sean have been given the middle finger to tomorrow on behalf of today for so many years running that the instant gratification has become a bit of an annual tradition, but it's mostly because they've gotten pretty damn good at it since the arrival of Jeff Ireland. After they left no shortage of heads being scratched by giving up future assets to jump up and select an underutilized playmaker by the name of Alvin Kamara from the University of Tennessee, despite already having a franchise leader and a Hall of Famer at his position, I have now grown to accept that questioning the front office's longstanding loathing of later is a fool's errand.
Now, as for the direction they chose to go after pulling an all-too-familiar trigger, it's tough not to feel comfortable in following along. As a petulant prioritizer of prospects that score points, I'd be lying if I said I had my sights set on Erik McCoy when Jahri Evans and Deuce McAllister took the stage early, but that doesn't make his presumed role any less relevant. With Max Unger kicking his feet up in retirement, Andrus Peat looking at one last year in New Orleans, and Nick Easton coming off a neck injury, the Saints' offensive line needed a youthful injection in an uncertain interior.
Who better to provide it then someone whose resume in neutralizing some of the best d-linemen college football has to offer in the SEC is pretty close to spotless? Add in a quality combine performance that spoke glowingly of what was already a well-documented ability to get out in space and take advantage of his athleticism, and it's really a wonder that Erik McCoy's name wasn't one that came up more often when discussing the interests of a screen and sweep happy team that values versatility. Another receiver would have been nice, seeing as some high-profile pass catchers were still on the board. However, the best weapon you can offer a quarterback, especially one with the accuracy and active eyesight of Drew Brees, will always be time and it doesn't read like Erik McCoy will need much of it before proving capable of starting at center.
As grateful as Erik McCoy is to have been taken by the Saints, the Saints sound just as grateful that he was there for the taking, which is really I needed to feel comfortable with an unglamorous selection that's being considered a steal by most that matter. Especially given the success that New Orleans has had in throwing caution to the wind after coming to the profound conclusion that you always have a full year before having to worry about next year.
The Comparison of the Golden Knights' 5 Minute Major Meltdown to the Non-Call in the NFC Championship is a Bigger Joke Than Either
Look, I get it. It's an easy (also see: lazy) comparison to make. For the foreseeable future, any time a sports' team feels as though they were jobbed by incompetent officiating in a way that even slightly affected the outcome of an important game they are going to invoke the eternally and unforgettably stained postseason of the 2018 New Orleans Saints. Mix in the fact that this too will probably result in a change to replay rules, and I can certainly see some similarities.
However, while I understand that Jonathan Marchessault was speaking purely out of frustration in the wake of his team's season being brought to an untimely end that was nothing short of shocking, what we aren't going to do is ignore the much more numerous differences in the two scenarios. For instance, the Saints may have blown some opportunities to (re-)win a close game that was put up for grabs as soon as they were denied a blatantly deserved opportunity to casually kick their way into the Super Bowl with mere seconds left. What they definitely didn't do is make a mockery of math with an embarrassing attempt to protect a huge lead with half a period remaining...
Never mind the fact that one crappy call, no matter how impactful, statistically matters less in a seven-game series (that, need I remind you, Vegas led 3-1) than it does a one-game winner-take-all, because the truth of the matter is that the Golden Knights are deflecting a laughable amount of blame by drawing such a false equivalence. I honestly don't even what the NFL equivalent of giving up four goals in four minutes of 5-on-4 would be, but it certainly wouldn't be losing in OT after allowing one of the best offenses in the league to two-minute drill a long, game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.
Point being, the only reason anyone in the Golden Knights' locker room thinks they've truly felt the pain of the Saints is because feeling a worse pain is unimaginable to them right now. Unimaginable, however, is not synonymous with impossible, as New Orleans had what little doubt they left in the outcome multiplied exponentially by the human error of officiating. Vegas, on the other hand, still had little doubt left in the outcome regardless of the officiating until they, themselves multiplied it's effect exponentially with their own human error.
There are plenty of people that still stand firm that the Saints choked, and if that's even 10% true then it's a miracle that the Golden Knights could even mutter such an asinine analogy without needing the Heimlich maneuver to remove a historically half-assed and haphazard penalty kill, that is understandably tough to swallow, from their collectively tightened throat.
The day in which Michael Thomas deafeningly demands to be paid tippy top dollar, through both his unrelenting play and his even less relenting Instagram account, is slowly but surely approaching. When that day comes I'm not so sure he'll be so quick to be sharing his sponsored sneaker collection with a head coach who has never financially advised breaking the bank on high-end offensive weapons. Until that day comes, however, I plan on enjoying the hell out of the fact that the New Orleans Saints have a 26-year old playmaker and a 55-year old play-caller that share a close enough relationship off the field for the former to be helping the latter flex all over the front 9 in some fresh J's.
Little things like a star receiver graciously gifting an authority figure three decades his senior an opportunity to get his fit off don't just speak to Sean Payton being far more relatable to his players than your average NFL coach. They also speak directly to the cohesiveness of the culture we've seen created throughout the entirety of the Saints' organization over the last two seasons.
Of course, monetary disagreements can sabotage even the most mutually beneficial of marriages, especially when both participants happen to be so preposterously prideful. Still, if only for the time being, having the ability to refer to the kinship of two people who, on the surface, have nothing other than a near psychotic level of competitiveness (and apparently a cleanness in kicks) in common is pretty damn rare and pretty goddamn cool.
Ben Watson Appears Open to an NFL Encore, Which is a Relief As No Career Should End The Way His Was Thought To
I don't know that Ben Watson announcing his intent to return to an NFL field signals an inevitable return to New Orleans. I would love that to be the case, as it would lessen the blow the Saints have had dealt to their leadership group with the departure of Mark Ingram and the retirement of Max Unger, as well as give them proven depth at a position whose depletion hurt them when it mattered most last season. However, with the addition of Jared Cook, the extension of Josh Hill, the curious case of Dan Arnold, and the presumed interest in adding some youth at tight end in the draft, I hardly think his role has been left wide-open for the re-taking. I'd hope to see him back in black & gold since the 38-year old's contributions go far beyond his numbers, but at the end of the day there's only so many roster spots available.
That being said, I'm just glad Ben Watson has apparently decided to search for one somewhere. For as great a person and productive a player as he's been while putting together a resume whose length defies logic, being helplessly sidelined only to get a closer look at having his Super Bowl sendoff get stolen from him by the world's most flagrantly un-thrown flag is no way to call it quits. No team's season should end that way, never mind the career of one of the most universally respected veterans in all of sports.
Therefore, if only to pen a final chapter that isn't eternally demoralizing, I'm relieved that Ben Watson has decided to open back up the book to his football life in reconsidering retirement. Hopefully that chapter provides a storybook ending with him hoisting the Lombardi Trophy alongside Drew Brees, but the truth is that any conclusion would be exponentially better than the heart-wrenching and mind-numbing one it was left with prior.
Teddy Bridgewater Ran Out of Bikes, Toys, and School Supplies to Give Away to Kids in His Community so He Started Passing Out $20 Bills Like a Boss
Considering the hesitancy I will always have towards believing that Drew Brees will retire until he actually does, I haven't the slightest clue what Teddy's Bridgewater's future holds on the football field. Even if things shake out as conveniently as some Saints' fans think/hope they will, there would still be a ton of questions as to whether he would make for a viable successor under center.
What won't be up for debate, however, is whether Teddy Bridgewater possesses the selflessness and humility that have made the person atop him on the depth chart into a damn ambassador for the city he's helped to inspire and uplift. Now, due to the most dire, disastrous, and devastating of circumstances, Drew Brees' impact on New Orleans (and vice-versa) is entirely unprecedented throughout sports' history so no one will never be able to fill those shoes. That, however, doesn't make it any less cool that Teddy Bridgewater is apparently pretty quick to give a whole shitload of smaller pairs away to the kids in his hometown as yet another consummate good guy in a quarterback room whose embarrassment of riches is being spent generously.
Dude looks to be a leader, and I would say that could imply that the Saints' offense is in good hands going forward if that were anywhere near as important as Mr. U-Haul keeping those hands out in giving back to the community that helped raise him by any monetary means necessary.
The Falcons Snuck An NFC Shampionship-Inspired Troll Job Into Their 'GoT' Schedule Release, And It's About Damn Time They Made a Funny
When you're so quick to give it, you got to be able to take it. Seeing as the Falcons have, through their unforgettable failures as a franchise, given the Saints and their much more faithful fanbase no choice but to give it, it was theoretically a matter of time before those same fans had to take it. For that reason, I tip my cap to Atlanta's social media team for putting together that clever animation, despite it being a nod to a play that still rips my heart out on...ahem...replay. Like it or not, and I most certainly do not, it's objectively funny.
Now, is it as objectively funny as putting billions of dollars into the building of a mechanical butthole that's perennially half-full and shares a sponsor with the much louder and prouder stadium of your most hated division rival? Good question. Is it as objectively funny as not only having to pipe in artificial crowd noise to your home venue for it to sound like anything remotely close to an NFL atmosphere, but also getting caught doing so? Who's to say? Is it as objectively funny as defying the constraints of time as a construct by blowing a 25-point lead in the second half of the biggest game in your franchise's history while on the brightest stage in sports? It suppose it's all a matter of perspective, but from my perspective the Saints pack far less as a punchline than does the organization that's unsurprisingly much less arrogant and accomplished as an antagonist, especially since having vacated the divisional throne.
Incredible. Simply incredible. I mean, how? Just how? I don't even have the words for the work ethic it must require to...::gathers breath::...continue pulling otherwise asinine tasks out of your ass in hopes of making an athletic alien shed a bead of perspiration.
Honestly, I'm only being half-sarcastic when I say that the most shocking thing about this video was the creativity of the trainer. That's partially because neither my body nor brain is capable of truly comprehending the difficulty of the exercise at hand. However, it's mostly because Alvin Kamara, whether it be on or off the field, has spent the last two years getting Saints' fans way too used to his ability to make near impossible feats of physicality look entirely effortless. The pegs on those projectiles being red and blue is quite fitting, because that is some Matrix shit...if Neo had both swag and his superpowers weren't a product of pill-popping. Yet still, due mostly to desensitization, I was left responding to that video with nothing more than a shoulder shrug that matched what little anxiety Alvin Kamara appeared to be exuding as his ears, eyes, and hands casually coordinated to put forth an otherworldly display of instantaneous telepathy.
I personally didn't need to see this to know that someone who could probably break your balls while balancing himself on a bed of marbles is an absolute freak far beyond this galaxy, never mind a football field. Therefore, I'll treat this clip as a relief knowing his offseason regimen isn't in the idle hands of someone who is going to rest on their laurels and stop going above and beyond the call of duty in the hopeless endeavor to humanize AK's talents. I wish Dr. Reef the best of luck, for he genuinely looks to be working harder than the wonder kid he's allegedly working out.
As if Anyone Needed the Confirmation, Sean Payton Finally Shot Down The Cowboys' Rumors With His Signature Sass
NOLA- The speculation about New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton eventually leaving to coach the Dallas Cowboys seem to be never-ending, but Payton had a funny line when discussing the topic Thursday evening on WWL radio.
“I’ve got fleur-de-lis tattoos that can’t be erased!" Payton said during the interview.
“I’m in my 13th year. I don’t know how to answer it,” he said. “I feel like it’s every other year; it’s on the odd number years, so 2019 it comes up and then we’ll hear it in 2021.”
With regards to staying in New Orleans, Payton said, “That’s clearly the plan.”
Despite being best described as NFL insiders crying wolf, the annual Sean Payton to the Cowboys rumors were never anything more than whispers. Whispers that could be rationalized by circumstance, with the Saints' head coach having a home in Dallas and a relationship with Jerry Jones that predates his tenure in New Orleans, but whispers nonetheless. For that reason, it became increasingly easy for the Who Dat Nation to tune them out as those riding America's bandwagon continue to hopelessly and shamelessly yearn for the day that their organization hires a head coach that can't be walked all over from an owners' suite.
Still, if only due to the lack of a defiant dismissal from the one man most likely to open up and offer one, there was a small seed of doubt left untended to in the back of the mind of Saints' fans.
Thankfully, Sean Payton finally put all his weight into the heel of his work boot and squashed that seed to smithereens. Speaking to the city of New Orleans and the Saints' organization being woven into the fabric of who he is as a person and a professional is the type of classic quotable that's always ingratiated him to fans and gotten under the skin of his haters (of which are there are many). Granted, it could have went without saying, for as much as he's been eternally influenced by the local culture, he's also pretty clearly put the stamp of his own petty personality on the team that serves as its heartbeat. Still, it was refreshing to learn of him boldly saying so in a way that only he would.
Now more so than even the unforgettable honeymoon period, the relationship between Sean Payton, New Orleans, and the Saints is a symbiotic one. Due to the nature of the business, plans change and it'll inevitably come to an end at some point. However, if that point wasn't when the franchise stuck by his side throughout a season-long suspension or during the demoralizing deja vu of 7-9 seasons then it sure as shit isn't anywhere in a near future of which he can prove his brilliance beyond Drew Brees with the young, talented roster he put together.
Luckily, you no longer have to take my word for it, as the ink has long dried on tattoos that, be they literal or figurative, speak for themselves.