Settling Julio Jones vs Michael Thomas once and for all
The question of Julio Jones or Michael Thomas seems to pop up more and more.
The Julio Jones or Michael Thomas question has quite honestly one of the most ridiculous questions that people can ask. One, because the answer is subjective. Every person values different aspects of each player’s game and has a different perception of what makes them great.
Second, this has become the football version of LeBron or Michael. Not from the standpoint that Jones or Thomas is the greatest football player ever but rather from a standpoint of boredom and people know when they throw out those questions, the responses are going to be fast and furious and will be loaded with hot takes.
It is really hard to compare each player because Julio has been in the league longer and does have better numbers and more highlight moments.
Instead, let’s take a look at where each player was at through their first 63 games. This is where Michael Thomas is at heading into the 2020 season.
- Julio Jones: 5,874
- Michael Thomas: 5,512
- Julio Jones: 626
- Michael Thomas: 602
- Julio Jones: 396
- Michael Thomas: 470
- Julio Jones: 33
- Michael Thomas: 32
The context for Julio also needs to be taken into account here as well. Michael Thomas is literally the only threat that the Saints have. Whereas Julio had to fight Tony Gonzalez for his first couple of years and Roddy White for his first five seasons.
During the years that those two played alongside Julio, here are the numbers that each put up.
- Tony Gonzalez: 2,664
- Roddy White: 4,785
- Tony Gonzalez: 361
- Roddy White: 614
- Tony Gonzalez: 256
- Roddy White: 378
- Tony Gonzalez: 23
- Roddy White: 26
The only Saints player that comes close to Thomas’ production in the passing game is Alvin Kamara, who has had 302 targets, 243 catches, 2,068 yards, and 10 touchdowns during the time that they have played together.
As a rookie, Thomas was able to play with Brandin Cooks, but since then has no one else to take away from the production like Julio did his first 63 games in the NFL.
Having to battle with two of the leagues best like Julio did, takes away from each of the above categories, yet he was still able to put numbers that have him on track to be among the two best receivers in NFL history.
Michael Thomas has certainly been good his first couple of seasons in the NFL and no one should take away from that. However, he isn’t Julio Jones and has not put up Julio’s numbers despite all of his receptions.
Until Michael Thomas has five straight seasons with 1,400 yards receiving and six straight seasons with at least 1,350 yards receiving, the comparisons need to stop. No other receiver in NFL has achieved either of those things and until someone else does, Julio is in a category all by himself.