During last year’s offseason, the New England Patriots appeared to have a revolving door at their wide receiver depth chart — and the issues continued into the regular season. All in all, the Patriots made a total of 23 transactions at the position up until week three.
New England would certainly like to avoid the wide receiver carousel that occurred last season, especially with former wideouts coach Chad O’Shea now in Miami, but it appears more change is on the way.
Besides special teams ace Matthew Slater, Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman is the only other wide receiver under contract for 2019 that finished last season on the roster. Second year slot receiver Braxton Berrios is scheduled to return after spending his entire rookie year on injured reserved.
With the uncertainty at the position, New England will be heavily interested in wide receivers on the free agent market and in the draft, and one name to keep an eye on is Demaryius Thomas.
Thomas, who was released by the Houston Texans over a week ago, has been linked to the Patriots in the past. Before being dealt to Houston at the trade deadline, New England was reportedly interested in acquiring the 31-year old.
After appearing in seven games for the Texans, Thomas suffered a torn Achilles in week 16. While his return timetable is still to be determined, he came back in just six months from a torn Achilles he suffered his rookie season.
Thomas was also just recently sent to the hospital after he was involved in a car crash. However, it luckily appears he only suffered minor injuries.
Acquiring the four-time Pro Bowler could come at quite the bargain coming off the injury. If New England feels he can contribute at some point this season, perhaps after starting the season on the Physically Unable to Perform List, it is certainly worth kicking the tires.
Many seem to question Thomas’ hands and physicality, yet he only dropped six passes last year and had a better catch percentage than the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Golden Tate, etc. As for his physicality, perhaps his blocking ability could improve with the way the Patriots’ approach coaching wide receivers.
Thomas’ skill set is obviously there, as he put up just under 60 catches and 700 yards in 15 games last season, with eight of those games being played in a Denver Broncos’ offense that struggled in 2018. From 2012-2016, the 6-foot-3 receiver eclipsed 1,000 yards every season while adding 46 touchdowns.
Signing Thomas would be no slam dunk move to solve all the Patriots receiver issues, but it’s a risk worth taking if the dollars make sense.