The Patriots finally made a move to improve their receiving corps! Demaryius Thomas is going to be the dominant outside receiver that they’ve been lacking, and that he was for years in Denver! Or is he? I wouldn’t pencil him in for the Pro Bowl just yet.
I think the absolute best case scenario for Thomas is Brandon LaFell. In LaFell’s first year with the Patriots, he had 74 catches for over 900 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. He also caught 2 playoff touchdowns, including 1 in the Super Bowl. LaFell was also 28 and healthy, which makes me think this scenario is wildly optimistic.
Two names that I think are more likely are Chad Johnson and Eric Decker. Johnson was 33 when he came to New England and was coming off a season that was, statistically at least, very close to what Thomas did last year. He was also healthy, so he had that going for him. He obviously never got fully into the system, and was an extreme disappointment, finishing the regular season with only 15 catches and being a non factor in the playoffs. Decker came to the Patriots after starting only 8 games with the Titans, but finishing with over 50 catches and 500 yards receiving. He seemed a lock for a roster spot, but could never get a hold of the offense, and was cut before last season started.
Thomas will be 32 in December and is coming off another torn Achilles(the other was during the 2011 offseason), so there’s uncertainty if he’ll even be ready for the start of the season, nevermind training camp. Even if he is, time will tell if he’s lost a step, and can ever be the player he was before the injury. The initial reports were that it was a 1 year deal for up to $6M, and while that’s technically true, the Patriots would only take on $300,000 in dead money if they were to cut him in camp.
At the end of the day, no one knows exactly the impact that Thomas is going to have, but, based on his age, injury history, and contract, it’s a good idea for fans to feel how the team does. It’s possible he can help, but there’s a very good chance that he doesn’t, and there’s also a chance he doesn’t even make the team.
Pat is a co-host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
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