The New Orleans Saints and leading receiver Michael Thomas have agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract, his agent said Wednesday.

Andrew Kessler of the agency Athletes First, who joined colleague David Mulugheta in negotiating the deal with the Saints, said the contract pays Thomas about $61 million in guaranteed salary and bonuses.

The agreement, first reported by NFL Network, brings to an end Thomas' training camp holdout that spanned five practices.

The Saints had a scheduled day off on Wednesday and Thomas was expected to join practice on Thursday.

Currently, Thomas' average annual pay of $20 million represents a new high for NFL receivers, eclipsing the $18 million per year paid to Cleveland's Odell Beckham Jr.

Last season, Thomas ranked first in the NFL in catches with 125, sixth in yards receiving with 1,405 and tied for 10th with nine touchdowns.

Thomas has established himself as an elite receiver with 321 catches for 3,787 yards and 23 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons.

 

Brady at camp

Tom Brady is a week into his 20th NFL training camp and will turn 42 on Saturday, but the New England Patriots quarterback still has boundless enthusiasm for the challenge ahead.

"I have a great time," Brady said after Wednesday's full-pads practice, conducted in 90-degree heat.

"I love the sport. I've been playing it since I was a kid. It's hard for me to imagine doing anything else in life. I love playing ball, so to still be out here at 41, soon to be 42, it's a pretty great thing for me," he said.

The sixth-round draft selection out of Michigan in 2000 is coming off his sixth Super Bowl victory in nine appearances, but personnel changes along his offensive line and at tight end loom as obstacles to another trip to the title game.

Foremost among the changes is the retirement of tight end Rob Gronkowski, regarded as perhaps the best in the game over the past nine seasons.

"He's a great player, and to replace great players, it's not like you just pick another one off the tight end tree," he said. "You've got to find guys that come in that want to put the work in and want to try to contribute."

 

Dolphins great dies

Pro Football Hall of Fame middle linebacker Nick Buoniconti, an undersized overachiever who helped lead the Miami Dolphins to the NFL's only perfect season and became a leader in the effort to cure paralysis, has died. He was 78.

Buoniconti, who died Tuesday in Bridgehampton, New York, struggled in recent years with symptoms of CTE, a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head. He had recently battled pneumonia, Dolphins senior vice president Nat Moore said.

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Buoniconti was bypassed in the NFL draft but went on to a 15-year career. He was captain of the Dolphins' back-to-back Super Bowl champions, including the 1972 team that finished 17-0.

Following retirement, Buoniconti and his son, Marc, worked to raise more than a half-billion dollars for paralysis research. The younger Buoniconti was paralyzed from the shoulders down making a tackle for The Citadel in 1985.