BOSTON ( WEEI) — Is it possible for a free-agent signing to be both a good and bad one at the same time?
The New England Patriots clearly needed to added proven NFL talent at the wide receiver position, which is why signing Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday was a good move. But at the same time, it is the type of signing that would be mocked if another top AFC contender did it.
Thomas, who will be 32 years old in December, is working his way back from a torn Achilles suffered last Dec. 23. It was the second time in his career he had suffered the injury, and he reportedly will be back on the field at some point before the start of the regular season. How productive he will be is a different story and really a mystery at this time.
Thomas’ receptions, yards and touchdowns have declined in each season since 2014, when he recorded career highs in receptions (111) and yards (1,619). Last season, split between the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, he finished with 59 catches for 677 yards and five touchdowns. Thomas was traded from Denver to Houston at the deadline, and the Patriots had interest in him then, too.
Thomas can make roughly $6 million on an incentive-laden contract, according to MMQB’s Albert Breer: $1.2 million base, $150K signing bonus, $150K reporting bonus, $1.406 million in per-game roster bonuses, $750K for 60 catches, $750K for 800 yards, $750K for 1,000 yards and $750K for 1,200 yards. The wideout’s cap hit is $2.9 million.
Given the Patriots’ situation, it was a signing that needed to be made.
Before adding Thomas, the Patriots had a wide receiver depth chart of Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Maurice Harris, Bruce Ellington, Matthew Slater, Braxton Berrios and Damoun Patterson. Edelman, Dorsett and Slater (who doesn’t really count as a receiver) were the only locks to make the team.
There’s also Josh Gordon, who has so much up in the air for the 2019 season and what he can contribute.
Clearly, more was needed.
There’s also the upcoming NFL Draft, but that comes with risk considering how difficult it is for receivers, and rookies in particular, to pick up the Patriots offense. In addition, wide receiver hasn’t been a position the Patriots have hit on via the draft under Bill Belichick.
Thomas likely has a good connection with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was the Broncos coach when the team drafted Thomas in 2010. Their familiarity could be beneficial, and it’s likely McDaniels was heavily involved in the move.
Another thing to consider is the quarterbacks Thomas has had during the recent stretch where his numbers have declined. They include Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Case Keenum. Thomas should be more productive in New England with Tom Brady, but again, he’s coming off a torn Achilles, which is a tough injury to come back from, especially at age 31.
The Patriots were not in a great spot at the wide receiver position, and that is exactly …read more
Source:: Daily times