The New Orleans Saints fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 31-24, on Thursday Night Football. The final score suggests a game that was much closer than it actually was. New Orleans' offense, save for a failed last-minute comeback, was completely impotent. The Derek Carr era is off to a poor start.
At 3-4, the Saints land third in the NFC South behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons. Pete Carmichael has a long track record of successful offense in NOLA, but his group is sputtering and we are reaching the point in the season where panic, while not necessary, is inevitable.
Carr is a tried and true gunslinger, but he's struggling to efficiently move the ball downfield right now. He has no shortage of WR talent at his disposal, but with Chris Olave emerging as the true WR1, long-tenured veteran Michael Thomas can sometimes feel like an afterthought in a broken offense.
If the Saints decide to blow it up and pivot toward a rebuild — or at the very least a retool — Thomas feels like a prime trade candidate. Even at 30 years old, he figures to have a wide array of interested suitors.
Here are three teams who feel like an especially strong fit.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Well. If you can't beat em, join em.
The Jaguars are 5-2 with a comfortable first-place lead in the AFC South. It happened rather suddenly, but the Jags look the part of division favorites — even if their odds of postseason success are dubious at best. Thing is, once the playoffs arrive, anything can happen. Jacksonville should lean into the goal of contention with Trevor Lawrence on the upswing.
Calvin Ridley was supposed to take the WR1 reins this season, but his connection with Lawrence has wavered week to week. Christian Kirk has been the more consistent weapon (six catches, 90 yards, 1 TD in the win over NOLA), but it wouldn't hurt to get another set of hands in the mix. Especially one with Thomas' track record of high-level success.
Even in a "down" year, Thomas is averaging 10.9 yards per catch. He has 34 receptions on 54 targets across seven games, good for 371 yards and a touchdown. He's a veteran who, not long ago, held the mantle for best player in the NFL at his position. At 6-foot-3, Thomas is a towering athlete. He would quickly emerge as Lawrence's top end zone target and a nightly big-play threat.
Ridley's game-breaking speed can still swing the momentum of games, but he would be even more dangerous with defenses keyed in on Thomas. Kirk has long thrived in the No. 2 or 3 WR role, so the setup is perfect for all involved. Even if individual target share goes down across the board, Jacksonville's top wideouts would benefit from each other, not to mention the up-and-coming Lawrence.