Michael Thomas has yet to report to Saints camp

Another young, rising star is sitting out the start of training camp in hopes of landing a big long-term contract.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo first reported Thursday that New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas did not report to training camp with teammates. Thomas is seeking a new deal and will stay away until he gets one.

General manager Mickey Loomis said in June that talks of a new contract for Thomas were underway, but as of now, sides haven't agreed on what should be a hefty payday for the 26-year-old.

"I think it's something that hopefully will be resolved soon," coach Sean Payton told reporters. "And it was more common I think back when some of these picks weren't slotted, more common with rookie players. But I think his agent Mickey, those guys are working on it. I'm optimistic it'll be done fairly soon."

On Wednesday, Thomas tweeted out Nipsey Hussle lyrics.

A 2016 second-round pick, Thomas enters the final season of his rookie contract, set to make $1.148 million -- peanuts compared to his worth.

Thomas has been Drew Bees' go-to target since the receiver entered the league. The route technician has surpassed the 1,100-yard barrier in each of his first three years. Thomas broke the record for receptions in his first three seasons, hauling in 321 tosses and compiling 3,787 yards with 23 TDs. In 2018, Thomas' 85-percent catch rate (125 catches on 147 targets) topped the league, and he generated 75 receiving first downs, third-most in the NFL.

Thomas is the straw that stirs the Saints' passing attack. Now he wants to be paid like it.

Odell Beckham Jr. currently sits as the highest-paid receiver at $18 million per season. Thomas could be looking to surpass that at a rate of upwards of $20 million per season. Thomas is among several receivers who are waiting on new deals, along with Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and A.J. Green. Depending on how the dominoes fall ahead of the regular season, the "highest-paid receiver" designation could change hands several times in the coming weeks.

Thomas joins Melvin Gordon, Yannick Ngakoue and Trent Williams as players skipping the start of training camp in search of new deals. Players holding out of camp are subject to daily fines of $40,000 per the CBA.

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