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Saints WR Michael Thomas resets the wide receiver market, will Amari Cooper be next?

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One domino has fallen in the wide receiver market.

NFL: NOV 29 Saints at Cowboys Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Everyone knows that Amari Cooper is going to get paid. It’s just a matter of when and how much. When the Cowboys decided to trade their first-round pick in the 2019 draft for Cooper, they were committed to re-signing him and their hope is to do it before his fifth-year option expires after the 2019 season.

It just so happens that a couple of other top-tier receivers were also working towards new contracts. Cooper was joined by Julio Jones and Michael Thomas in wanting new deals. Once one of them signed, the wide receiver market was expected to rise. And so it has as the Saints and Michael Thomas have reached an agreement.

Michael Thomas has reached agreement with the New Orleans Saints on a five-year, $100 million extension that includes $61 million guaranteed and makes him the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

On a basic level, that puts Thomas at $20 million, better than the $18 million for Odell Beckham, Jr., the former highest-paid receiver based on average per year. Behind those two are a group of receivers in the $16 million range.

We don’t know all the details yet of how this contract is structured, but we at least know the parameters and that should trickle down to the contracts that both Julio Jones and Amari Cooper hope to sign.

Thomas has had three straight 1,000 yard seasons to start his career, has been to two Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro last year.

Stats for Thomas:

Receiving & Rushing Table
Game Game Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece
Year Age Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% AV
2016 23 NOR 15 12 121 92 1137 12.4 9 75.8 76.0% 10
2017* 24 NOR 16 14 149 104 1245 12.0 5 77.8 69.8% 13
2018*+ 25 NOR 16 16 147 125 1405 11.2 9 87.8 85.0% 17
Care Care 47 42 417 321 3787 11.8 23 80.6 77.0% 40
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/31/2019.

Stats for Cooper:

Receiving & Rushing Table
Game Game Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece
Year Age Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% AV
2015* 21 OAK 16 15 130 72 1070 14.9 6 66.9 55.4% 9
2016* 22 OAK 16 14 132 83 1153 13.9 5 72.1 62.9% 10
2017 23 OAK 14 12 96 48 680 14.2 7 48.6 50.0% 6
2018* 24 2TM 15 15 107 75 1005 13.4 7 67.0 70.1% 8
* DAL 9 9 76 53 725 13.7 6 80.6 6
* OAK 6 6 31 22 280 12.7 1 46.7 2
Care Care 61 56 465 278 3908 14.1 25 64.1 59.8% 33
4 yr 4 yr OAK 52 47 389 225 3183 14.1 19 61.2 57.8% 27
1 yr 1 yr DAL 9 9 76 53 725 13.7 6 80.6 69.7% 6
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/31/2019.

Given Julio Jones’ stats and career, it’s a good bet his contract will exceed the Thomas contract. The question is will Amari Cooper’s camp push to beat the Thomas contract, or will he be content with a solid payday that doesn’t set a new high? Thomas has been the superior receiver stats-wise, but he’s also played under Sean Payton and with Drew Brees. Still, the start to his career has been phenomenal. Cooper has had some ups and downs, but he also holds some leverage as the Cowboys expended a first-round pick on him, and Cooper basically saved the season last year. He might use that to really push his deal, but will it be more than the Thomas deal?

Tod Archer doesn’t think Cooper will hit $20 Million.

David Moore is in agreement.

Archer puts a number range on what he thinks Cooper will get.

We will probably find out the answer to how much Cooper will get over the next month or so.