Less than a week ago, it appeared Pierre Thomas’ time with the Saints was coming to an abrupt end.
Instead, the running back signed a two-year extension, said Lamont Smith, Thomas’ agent.
The team announced the move shortly after.
On Friday, various reports said the Saints were possibly shopping Thomas and his expiring $2.9 million salary cap value.
Saints shopping RB Pierre Thomas and WR Lance Moore to other teams, per sources, and even could be open to trading RB Darren Sproles also.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2014
By extending him, however, it’s likely that his cap number was spread out and made smaller, helping the Saints find ways to work in free agents.
It’s a move that keeps around the team’s leading rusher from 2013 (549 yards on 147 carries) and one of the league’s most versatile running backs. He’s four yards from surpassing Dalton Hilliard for most receiving yards by a running back in franchise history and 13 catches from breaking Reggie Bush’s franchise mark for receptions by a running back.
Thomas signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois in 2007 and hasn’t looked back. He has 3,523 rushing yards, 2,230 receiving yards and 37 combined touchdowns in seven seasons with New Orleans.
Analytics website Pro Football Focus rated him as the No. 2 running back in the NFL for those who saw a quarter of their team’s total snaps. The Saints rotated in running backs, using Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and Darren Sproles along with Thomas in 2013.