For the first time since 2000, the New York Jets and New England Patriots agreed to a trade, resulting in Demaryius Thomas suiting up for Gang Green. What type of impact can we expect from the 31-year-old veteran receiver?
Looks like Adam Gase was a man of his word after calling out the receiving corps following the New York Jets’ disappointing collapse against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. If Gase’s words rang loud and clear, then his actions surely followed it up. As a result of adding Antonio Brown, the New England Patriots followed by trading away Demaryius Thomas to the New York Jets.
After seven straight seasons with the Denver Broncos (four of which were Pro Bowl seasons), Thomas has now found himself on four different teams in the past two seasons. (ProFootballReference).
After being traded midway last year from the Broncos to the Houston Texans, Demaryius Thomas suffered a ruptured Achilles that ended his season. After being signed, released, then re-signed with the Patriots this preseason, Thomas now finds himself as a New York Jet.
What type of production and impact can the Jets’ expect from the veteran wideout?
Prime Years Are in the Past
Demaryius Thomas accounted for five straight seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards from 2012-2016. He also accounted for double-digit touchdowns in three of the aforementioned five seasons. No surprise here, the Jets aren’t expecting to turn back the clock and revive the Demaryius Thomas of NFL past. Thomas wasn’t brought in to be the de facto number one wideout.
Even when he was racking up yardage and finding the endzone, Demaryius Thomas didn’t carry the reputation of having the most reliable hands. He averaged nearly 11 drops per season from 2012-2017, and his average career catch percentage is a mere 61%. Safe to say, the Jets are getting a Demaryius Thomas that his a shade of his former self.
Help Open Opportunities for Others
So the general consensus is that Thomas wasn’t going to be relied upon to suddenly handle the receiving load and lead the wideouts. But you don’t trade for him to ride the bench either. With the recent news of Quincy Enunwa likely to miss the remainder of the season with a neck injury, it is clear Demaryius Thomas will be up for filling the void.
So while Thomas won’t command double teams from opposing defensive backs, that doesn’t mean he can’t open opportunities for others. If he can prove to be reliable across the middle and with passes underneath, he can help keep defenses honest, possibly opening up Robby Anderson over the top as a deep threat.
Better yet, if he can prove reliable on the outside, it should give prized free-agent acquisition, Jamison Crowder, even more, room to work in the slot. Crowder had a whopping 17 targets and hauled in 14 of them for 99 yards receiving. The caveat: not a single touchdown reception. If there’s any way for Thomas to contribute, its to prove to be a reliable option, keeping defensive backs honest and allowing the other offensive threats the chance to exploit coverages.