Press release – The New England Patriots announced that they have signed free agent WR Demaryius Thomas and re-signed restricted free agent DB Jonathan Jones. Terms of the contracts were not announced.
Thomas, 31, is a veteran of nine NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos (2010-18) and the Houston Texans (2018). The 6-foot-3, 229-pounder originally entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick (22nd overall) by Denver in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Georgia Tech. He was traded by Denver to Houston on Oct. 30, 2018. Thomas was released by Houston on Feb. 12, 2019. He has played in 132 regular-season games with 118 starts and has 688 receptions for 9,330 yards and 62 touchdowns. Thomas has started all 10 postseason games he has played in and totaled 53 receptions for 759 yards and six touchdowns. He was a member of Denver’s Super Bowl 50 championship season.
Thomas owned a five-year 1,000-yard receiving season streak that spanned through 2016 campaigns and also earned five consecutive Pro Bowl berths during that time. He established Denver’s single-season record with 1,619 receiving yards in 2014. Thomas joined Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice as the only NFL players with three consecutive 1,400-yard and 10-touchdown seasons from 2012 through the 2014 season.
Last season, he started the first eight games of the year for Denver, finishing with 36 receptions for 402 yards and three touchdowns, before being trading to Houston, where he started in seven games and finished with 23 receptions for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He was injured in the regular-season finale and was placed on injured reserve for the playoffs.
Well OK then. This rumor has been out there for a couple of weeks or so. And it would seem to make a lot of sense for both sides. The kind of move the Patriots always seem to like to make once the crazy money has all been spent. Where they’ve been sitting at the Youth Hockey league fundraiser watching everybody put their names down on the silent auction sheets for Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham, Jr. And then just when the DJ announces the bidding is about to close, Belichick and Nick Caserio go put their names down on the empty sheet in front of a potential steal like an Austin Seferian-Jenkins or a Demaryius Thomas.
For him it makes sense because there’s no better place for a devalued asset to try to make himself re-valued than New England. Come in, play well as a third or fourth option behind Julian Edelman, stay healthy, play in prime time games, win in the postseason and reboot your once stellar career. For both sides, it’s all upside, zero downside.
At his best Thomas was an All Pro. And one of the very few highly drafted, top paid, so-called “elite” wide receivers to help bring his team to a championship during this era when it’s usually a guy like Julian Edelman, Doug Baldwin, Jacoby Jones or Victor Cruz. So here’s hoping he can do it again.
Of course there is one little matter. Very little. Barely worth mentioning. The kind of thing that would be really awkward if the quarterback you’re asking to resurrect your career was a sensitive type or had and ego. And that would be this:
Sure, that wouldn’t go over with Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger. But in Foxboro I don’t think anyone will mind. I don’t remember anyone making a big deal about it at the time. As a matter of fact, I wrote about it when it happened and I didn’t try to start any fights over it:
I’m not here to judge Demaryius Thomas. It’s his offseason. If he wants to go out, get hammered, shit on the 4-time Super Bowl MVP then get on the bar and go all Magic Mike, that’s his right as an American. I guess I could point out that Rob Gronkowski manages to go out and do Shirtless O’Clock without yelling “Fuck Trevor Siemian!” or “Fuck Paxton Lynch!” And next year when the Patriots are defending another Super Bowl and Thomas is going 9-7 with a new quarterback, I can promise no Pats player will be yelling “Fuck Tony Romo!” in some shitty dive in Georgia. But that’s neither here nor there. Brady’s too busy working out 10 hours a day and substituting kumquats for tomatoes to pay any attention to what a drunken diva wide receiver is saying about him. Lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep.
And now I’m glad I took the high road so I don’t have to take back anything I said. Let’s hear it for me and my restraint. But also for the class of Pats fans everywhere who have already moved on and let bygones be bygones. Sooo … Welcome? I guess?
P.S. And here’s a truly sincere welcome back to Jonathan Jones. We’ve always been cool with him.