The New Orleans Saints will be without their top wide receiver to begin the 2021 season.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Michael Thomas is expected to miss the start of the upcoming campaign after undergoing ankle surgery in June.
Rapoport added that the four-month recovery timeline could keep Thomas sidelined weeks into the season.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo added that the Saints have been checking in on available free-agent wide receivers in light of the Thomas news.
In light of the Michael Thomas news, the #Saints have been nosing around free-agent wide receivers, sources say. Expect them to at least work out a few in the coming days.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 23, 2021
Thomas missed nine games during the 2020 season due to the ankle injury and team discipline. He was placed on injured reserve for the final three weeks of the regular season before returning for two playoff games.
Playing through injuries, Thomas caught 40 catches for 438 yards last season with no touchdowns in seven games, all career-lows. The 28-year-old recorded four consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus yards before the 2020 season.
With Thomas sidelined, the Saints have Tre'Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris atop their receiving group. The trio combined for just 847 yards and five touchdowns last season.
Larry Fitzgerald, Golden Tate, Danny Amendola and Dez Bryant are among the free-agent wide receivers still up for grabs. However, Fitzgerald has not committed to playing in 2021, and even if he does, he might only be willing to return to the Arizona Cardinals.