On Monday, the Patriots resigned Thomas to a one-year deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. In a corresponding move, New England placed rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry on injured reserve with the ability to activate him after Week 6.
Thomas shined in the Patriots final preseason game, making seven catches on eight targets for 87 yards and two touchdowns. More impressive, his performance came just eight months removed from tearing his Achilles when he was a member of the Houston Texans last season.
The deal is likely a more team-friendy contract that allows New England some flexibility to address other team needs if necessary.
As for Harry, he became the first Patriots’ receiver drafted in the first round since Terry Glenn in 1996. He struggled with drops early in preseason but his acrobatic catches outnumbered the negatives. He was injured during joint practices with the Detroit Lions and further complicated matters with a hard hit in the preseason opener.
Harry was taken with the last pick in the first round out of Arizona State and highly-touted for his ability to break tackles along with his downfield speed and hands. He missed nearly all of the preseason due to those injuries suffered in Detroit and now has a chance to recover.
New England’s Receiver Depth
The Patriots are loaded at the wide receiver position to enter the 2019 season. Thomas joins Josh Gordon as the team’s premier outside threats which could create havoc for opposing defenses.
With Harry set to join that duo midway through the season, the weapons at Tom Brady’s disposal are some of his best ever.
In the slot, the sure-handed Julian Edelman has been Brady’s favorite target for nearly half a decade and rookie Jakobi Meyers’ size makes him an even bigger threat in the short game. Meyers and Brady struggled to connect in the third preseason game but his receiving prowess is still something to respect given his quickness downfield.
Gunner Olszewski and Phillip Dorsett are the other options at wideout for the Patriots. The former won a roster spot given his three-way versatility and work ethic. Dorsett, meanwhile, saw his production increase last year, something that could rise again this year.
Currently injured are Harry and Cameron Meredith. The latter was signed early in training camp but has not made it off the PUP list while recovering from his second knee injury in as many years. He could be of value to the Patriots should there be any injuries or unexpected departures at the receiver position during the season.
Demaryius Thomas clearly still has the talent to play in the NFL despite an injury that threatened to derail his career. Playing with a fellow veteran like Tom Brady will allow Thomas to be at his best.
He had five consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, narrowly missing a sixth in 2017. At 31, Thomas isn’t finished just yet and his preseason performance proved that. He’s currently seventh among active NFL players with 9,330 yards and ninth with 62 receiving touchdowns.
His presence could help take the load off Josh Gordon’s shoulders while forcing opposing secondaries to defend in single coverage against the Patriots’ elite passing offense.