Published: July 31, 2019 at 11:10 a.m.
Updated: Aug. 1, 2019 at 12:44 p.m.

NFL's top quarterback-wide receiver duo? Saints, Patriots combos sizzle

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There are a number of great quarterback-wide receiver duos in the NFL, and some teams have Pro Bowl- or even All-Pro-caliber players at both of these positions.

A member of one such duo just became a whole lot richer, as New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract extension after sitting out the start of training camp in hopes of getting a new deal, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The new agreement makes him the league's highest-paid receiver.

With that in mind, we thought it would be a good time to look at quarterback-wide receiver tandems across the league to ultimately answer this question:

Which QB-WR combo is the best heading into the 2019 regular season?

Drew Brees and Michael Thomas perfectly complement each other
You couldn't draw up a better duo than Drew Brees and Michael Thomas. Brees has one of the most impressive resumes in NFL history, with several records under his belt, including the mark for single-season completion percentage (74.4). Oh yes, he's proven his accuracy time and time again and is also the current all-time leader in completion percentage at 67.3. He has a special target in Thomas, who's making big money now thanks to his hands and catch radius, reeling in any ball in his vicinity. This duo is so efficient, which is what makes it one of the best of the last few decades.
Patriots tandem knows how to get it done when it matters most
There are a lot of really good quarterback-wide receiver duos out there, but Tom Brady and Julian Edelman do it best. They might not rack up the numbers like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in Atlanta or Drew Brees and Michael Thomas in New Orleans, but they are constantly rising to the occasion. Making the big play in the biggest moments is what it's all about in this league. No duo is better at that than New England's special connection.
How do I choose any pair but the reigning league MVP and his speedy sidekick?
It's hard not to pick the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill. Mahomes threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns on his way to claiming the league MVP award in his first season as Andy Reid's starter. And Hill is the most electric player in the NFL right now. Hill was the best receiver in the league last season on throws of 20-plus air yards, per Next Gen Stats. On 42 deep targets, he had 18 receptions for 714 yards (tops in the league in each category). This type of production could only be achieved by someone who routinely beats the coverage and has an absolute gunslinger passing him the ball. It might be years before a defense figures out how to stop this pair.
No duo executes a pass play easier than Matt Ryan and Julio Jones
It's Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Longevity and consistency should count for something in this exercise. Julio Jones has caught more than 10,000 yards worth of passing since entering the league in 2011, almost exclusively from Ryan. Jones piled up a lot of those yards without a true No. 2 receiver and with defenses spending all week trying find a way to slow down Jones' ridiculous route running, only to watch him go off on Sundays. No duo in the league makes an 18-yard in-cut or a 1,600-yard season look easier.
Saints' duo has made defenses pay for three seasons
The Saints have one of the NFL's most potent offenses with Drew Brees and Michael Thomas (and Alvin Kamara) at its center. Brees and Thomas put on a clinic last season, making history along the way. Brees now holds four all-time NFL marks (completion percentage, completions, passing yards and pass yards per game). He's a seasoned veteran who elevates everyone around him and Thomas is one of those guys. A second-round draft pick in 2016, Thomas has improved each year and earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2018. He had a league-high 125 receptions last season despite ranking outside the top 10 in targets. Thomas' ability to catch anything that comes his way makes this duo dangerous for any defense.
Pair of AFC duos stand out from the rest
This might not be the sexiest choice, but I'd take Tom Brady and Julian Edelman every time. They are meticulous in everything they do -- film study, individual drills, team drills, preparation, etc. -- and as a result, they win. And win. And win. This is especially true in the postseason, as they have won three Lombardis together.

I also have to give some love to the Los Angeles Chargers' Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen. The 6-foot-2, 211-pound receiver has regained full health after battling injuries early in his career to log back-to-back seasons with at least 1,100 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Allen can run any route on the route tree to make it easy for his future Hall of Fame quarterback. Rivers, who turns 38 in December, is coming off one of his best seasons thanks, in part, to the chemistry he's built with Allen.
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