Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Mar 2011

Saints Lock Up Pierre Thomas

The Saints have locked up running back Pierre Thomas, giving him a four-year deal. No word yet on terms.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 03 Mar 2011

10 comments, Last at 08 Mar 2011, 7:22am by nath

Comments

1
by big_jgke :: Thu, 03/03/2011 - 5:52pm

IS this guy good or is he overrated from playing well in the brief moments he's healthy and otherwise being injured all the time?

3
by mm (not verified) :: Thu, 03/03/2011 - 6:05pm

He's a very good all-around back when he's healthy. He can run, block, receive (the only back that can make the Saints screen game work), and is a solid backup on kickoff returns.

The injuries are a concern, however.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/player/17049/pierre-thomas

2
by mm (not verified) :: Thu, 03/03/2011 - 5:57pm

4 years,$12 million...certainly seems like a good deal for the Saints.

I'm guessing there are incentives that will boost the value if he's healthy enough not to miss much playing time.

4
by Randy Hedberg (not verified) :: Thu, 03/03/2011 - 6:16pm

RBs just can't get paid anymore. I guess the league has finally reacted to the Shawn Alexander deal. I know RBs are somewhat fungible, but still, I'd gladly pay $3M/year for a guy who has proven himself to be an average-to-above-average starter at a relatively important position. I mean, that's kicker/backup OL money at this point.

6
by Dean :: Fri, 03/04/2011 - 10:34am

Any backup OL making $3 million is overpaid.

Then again, you could argue that any player making $3 million is overpaid.

9
by An Onimous (not verified) :: Mon, 03/07/2011 - 7:28am

Sure, you COULD argue that. You could also argue that the Pope is secretly Jewish. It wouldn't be a very convincing argument, but that wouldn't prevent you from making it.

5
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 03/03/2011 - 10:40pm

yEs, good dela for Saints, Thomas pretty good when play . J shockey signed with Carolian Panthers todya

7
by Joseph :: Fri, 03/04/2011 - 12:11pm

IIRC, this is about the same deal they offered him last season, when he ended up playing for the 1 year restricted FA tender. He is not great, he is merely good. However, this is, IMO a good deal for both parties. Thomas does what the Saints ask him to do well. He is great on screens (for 2 good examples, see his receiving TD's vs. the Vikings and the Colts in the NFCCG & SB 2 yrs ago); he gets good yds-after-contact, and doesn't mind doing the "dirty work" of inside running; he is a solid blocker; and, as mentioned above, he is a backup KR (and he's decent at it--see his great return to start OT vs the Vikings in the NFCCG). Oh--and, he almost NEVER fumbles--I think he has 4 in 4 years. He is not great at any of these things (except the screens)--but is above-average at all of them. He does tend to get nicked up, which is why he'll never be a 300/yr carry back (not to mention sharing time with Reggie Bush). But if you look at his player link above, he was 4th in DVOA, 11th in DYAR, 5th in RecDVOA, and 6th in RecDYAR in 2008. Then he was 1st in DVOA, 5th in DYAR, 12th in RecDVOA, and 15th in RecDYAR in 2009 in the Saints' SB year. IIRC from the page, he was 4th & 1st in Success Rate too, and I remember reading that he also was top-3 (or higher?) in carries-for-a-loss. No wonder he was looking for a huge contract last offseason. If he could do that for 300 carries, we're looking at Tomlinson 7 yrs ago. Still, IMO, he's more valuable to the Saints than any other team--he can share the load with Bush/Ivory/Hamilton/other RB that gets picked up when 2 or more get injured, and he's really good at multiple things. IMO, these guys are usually under-appreciated by the fans & media because they're not stars, but the coaches/GM/players really respect them. Good for him that he finally gets paid for it (at least somewhat).

8
by Ryan J Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 03/07/2011 - 2:11am

Certainly a good deal for the Saints...however I wish they would just move on from all the crap RB's on their team, would you rather have 3 quarters or a dollar?

I wish we would have gotten Hillis...sigh.

10
by nath :: Tue, 03/08/2011 - 7:22am

"Crap RBs"? Thomas and Ivory have both had high success rates when healthy. I'd be fine with a backfield primarily featuring them.