Patriots sign Demaryius Thomas: Grade, reaction and analysis

New England Patriots, NFL Free Agency

With a need for depth at wide receiver, the New England Patriots have signed Demaryius Thomas.

In their search for pass catchers, the New England Patriots had Demaryius Thomas in for a visit last week. On Tuesday, according to multiple reports, they agreed to a one-year deal with the veteran wide receiver.

Thomas split the 2018 campaign between the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, with 59 receptions for 677 yards and five touchdowns in 15 total games. His season ended early with a torn Achilles in Week 16 though, and the Texans released him with a failed physical designation early in the offseason.

Thomas plead guilty to a careless driving charge this offseason, and a female passenger was injured. According to Pro Football Talk, the league is conducting a routine review of the situation. So some discipline under the NFL’s personal conduct policy is possible.

Contract Terms

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport initially reported Thomas’ deal is worth up to $6 million.

ESPN’s Field Yates added the details. Thomas is getting a $150,00 signing bonus, with a $1.2 million base salary and more available via incentives and bonuses. He will carry a cap number of $2.9 million.

National Reaction

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero mentioned Thomas’ reunion with Josh McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator who was the Broncos’ head coach when Thomas was drafted in 2010.

Albert Breer of The MMQB put out a more specific breakdown of the incentives in Thomas’ contract.

Pro Football Focus put Thomas’ career to this point in some perspective.

Dave Richard of CBS Sports offered some concise fantasy advice regarding Thomas.

ESPN’s Mike Clay updated his 2019 projections for the Patriots.

Evan Silva of Rotoworld updated his Patriots’ depth chart, with Thomas as the team’s WR3.

Thomas is now 31 with two torn Achilles’ in his career, and the timeline of his current recovery puts him in line to be on the PUP list to start the season. And that assumes he last that long, with any chance to make New England’s 53-man roster, which is far from certain.

Next: The worst value deals in 2019 NFL Free Agency

The Patriots are taking a flier on another veteran wide receiver, along the same lines as Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Eric Decker in the past. If Thomas is progressing back to health and makes it, he’s still unlikely to get anywhere near the max amount of his contract. If they cut him between now and the start of the season, they’re out what looks to be a total of $1.5 million in initial bonuses and base salary.

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