This really isn’t big news because neither was expected to get much interest from outside in a restricted free agent market that has been basically non-existent. But the fact Thomas and Ayodele will be returning to the Saints has some significance.
Both were unsung heroes in last year’s run to the Super Bowl. Ayodele might be the least known of all the New Orleans starters and the Saints still may be looking to upgrade and make him a backup in the future. But the fact is Ayodele started 13 games last season and was not a bad player.
Same deal with Thomas. With injuries piling up at tight end and fullback last season, Thomas split time between the two positions. He stood out as a blocker, but also has some receiving skills.
In other New Orleans news, general manager Mickey Loomis confirmed the Saints had free-agent defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson in for a visit. Wilkerson’s been a starter with Tampa Bay, but probably projects as a backup to Alex Brown and Will Smith if he joins the Saints.