The two sides might still hammer out a long-term deal, but word from sources close to the negotiations is that the contract desires of tailback "Pricey Pierre" Thomas approximate money in the Steven Jackson range, and that level of compensation might be a little too steep for New Orleans Saints officials.
Especially for a guy who, in three seasons, has never started more than six games and never rushed for more than the 793 yards he gained in 2009.
Thomas is a terrific back, particularly in the three-tailback rotation the Saints employed in their Super Bowl year, but for now at least, negotiations aimed at a long-term contract have broken down.
The Saints recently reached a seven-year, $56.1 million contract with guard Jahri Evans, the player at the top of their long-term to-do list, and would still like to finish an upgraded deal for quarterback Drew Brees, so Thomas' price might be difficult to reach. Thomas seemed to be next in the pecking order, but it's now problematic that a deal will be done before training camp, which was the preference of both sides.
Strong safety Roman Harper would like a long-term deal as well -- he hasn't yet signed his restricted free-agent qualifying offer of $2.521 million but is working out in OTA sessions -- but the two sides aren't close. The New Orleans brass seems to feel Harper can still do more and, because he's not a guy who makes waves, contract discussions with the four-year veteran may not be as urgent.
Thomas, who entered the league as an undrafted college free agent in 2007, has signed an injury-protection waiver but has not participated in the opening of OTAs this week. His absence may be related to personal matters. Thomas has yet to sign his one-year restricted free-agent tender of $1.684 million.