New York Jets: A Demaryius Thomas reunion could work wonders

New York Jets, Demaryius Thomas

Deep into the offseason, Demaryius Thomas remains a free agent. A return to the New York Jets would be beneficial for all sides.

Legends of NFL lore have borne the green of the New York Jets…albeit too late in their careers to make an impact.

The uniforms have hosted a plethora of superstars making a stop in the metropolitan area, looking as out of place as Vince Vaughn did in that Psycho remake. You could, in fact, form a whole that would probably win 10-12 games in their prime with the out-of-place gridiron gods that have passed through Jets camp. Brett Favre could be throwing passes to Art Monk while Jason Taylor and Ty Law handled things on defense (Law, to his credit, put up 10 interceptions in 2005).

Demaryius Thomas could be the next name on that list. A recent slew of injuries and perhaps sheer bad luck has caused many to forget just how explosive and game-changing a receiver Thomas can be. Between the 2012 and 2017 seasons, only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones acquired more receiving yardage than Thomas. Some could say those numbers were inflated with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball in Denver, but Thomas managed to make the most of situations where journeymen like Tim Tebow and Trevor Siemian. During his final full season with the Broncos (2017), Thomas still appeared in the top 20 in receiving yards (949) and receptions (83) with a terrifying throwing hydra of Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch reigning in Denver.

Embracing a rebuild, Denver traded Thomas to Houston where he suffered a torn Achilles. The Texans released him soon after and a comeback effort with the Patriots that ensuing summer went for naught. A rare trade between AFC East rivals sent Thomas the Jets’ way, where pedestrian numbers awaited (433 yards on 36 receptions and a score over 11 games).

Today’s NFL is one of instant gratification and memory spans shorter than a New York minute. Cam Newton, an MVP as little as five seasons ago, was a free agent into June. Thomas, 32, remains on the pickup list awaiting an opportunity as the NFL offseason reaches its twilight stages and an uncertain future.

A New York Jets reunion would not only benefit Thomas but help Gang Green solve some immediate problems of their own.

The idea of a Thomas return was ignited by a report from Connor Hughes of The Athletic earlier this month, who mentioned that the two sides “are talking” about 2020. It’s foolhardy to assume that his rearrival makes the Jets an instant contender but he’s the exact type of player the Jets need right now.

It’s admirable to see that the latest stage of the Jets’ perpetual rebuild has gone with a youth-oriented approach. Only six players on the squad are at least 30 and three of them are newcomers Frank Gore, Joe Flacco, and Brett Maher. But every rebuilding young squad needs some sort of veteran anchor, a veteran mentor to keep things rolling. A veteran anchor is a player that has been there before, someone who has seen the trials and tribulations a professional league has to offer, one that can make a transition of power all the more smooth.

Josh McCown perhaps fulfilled that role for the Jets before his brief retirement. Their metropolitan athletic brethren have employed similar concepts in their own rebuilds, as Henrik Lundqvist has taken on a similar role with the New York Rangers. The Brooklyn Nets took on two in the forms of DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler.

Thomas would could help a receivers room in desperate need of some guidance. Slot man Jamison Crowder is currently the most experienced option, sharing the honor with Breshad Perriman. The latter is expected to be the top receiving option alongside second-round pick Denzel Mims. Thomas can be a reassuring veteran prescience that can help Perriman expand on the career-best stretch we saw at the end of last season, as well as a strong instant teacher for Mims.

His influence on the youth has been perfectly documented by the case of 24-year-old Vyncint Smith. The pair worked together during their brief time in Houston and Thomas convinced Jets management to take a waiver on the undrafted veteran from Division II Limestone College. Reunited with Thomas, Smith made in an impact in the Jets’ starting lineup, making four starts and tallying 277 yards from scrimmage.

“He’s a big help. He’s the reason I came over to the Jets when they were scouting my film,” Smith said to Olivia Landis of NewYorkJets.com. “They asked him about me, and he said, ‘Yeah bring him in, he’s going to be big.’ He helped me out in Houston and I helped him a little bit with the plays, and he helped me with everything else. Things like being a professional on and off the field, he’s helped out a lot.”

Thomas’ leadership was rewarded through captaincy honors in November.

“It’s because everybody respects the man, the young guys and the older guys,” fellow captain Steve McLendon told Peter Botte of the New York Post. “Demaryius is a man of few words, but when he does say something, you take it to heart. Plus, he has gone and been to where we all desire to go and be.”

McLendon was perhaps indirectly referring to the Super Bowl, which Thomas has visited twice. His Super Bowl touchdown, in fact, came at MetLife Stadium, the lone bright mark for Denver in their 43-8 loss to Seattle in the game’s 48th edition. It was one of a Super Bowl-record 13 receptions for Thomas in that game. He’d eventually get his long-sought-after ring in the return trip two years later, when the Broncos topped Carolina 24-10 in Santa Clara.

Set to turn 33 this Christmas, it’s possible that Thomas might never be the same after the injury in Houston ended his 2018 season. But a chance to leave a lasting legacy could await him in New York. It’s no guarantee that he would be around to truly reap the fruits of his potential veteran labor, but a simple one-year signing, so common in this offseason, could pay big dividends in the long run.

Images of Favre, Law, etc. wearing Jets green may be viewed as sacrilegious by the football faithful. They’ll more than likely lump Thomas in the same view, but the modern Jets could look back on such an image fondly if the leadership returns in this crucial year.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

Should the New York Giants take a flier on Demaryius Thomas to bolster their WR corps?

New York Jets, Demaryius Thomas

The New York Giants struggled with injuries in 2019, especially in the wide receiver corps. Sterling Shepard suffered multiple concussions that put his career in jeopardy, Darius Slayton missed the first two games of the season due to injury, and Corey Coleman tore his ACL during training camp. Altogether, they missed 21 total games, putting rookie quarterback Daniel Jones in a tumultuous position.

Adding depth and talent to the unit is essential for the growth of the offense and Jones’ long-term success. Currently, they have a Shepard, Slayton, Coleman, and Golden Tate as their top four wide receivers.

They also brought in several undrafted free agents in Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and Derrick Dillon, to compete for special teams reps and a back end spot with the wide receivers. Coleman, who is coming off another significant injury, will be battling for a roster spot, so nothing is guaranteed.

Should the New York Giants take a flier on Demaryius Thomas?

It might even be beneficial to take a flyer on a free agent like Demaryius Thomas, who’s coming off a decent season with the New York Jets. This would allow him to stay local and simply switch New York teams. However, he did report that he prefers to join the Denver Broncos, where he has friends and a legacy waiting for him.

“I would love to be a Denver Bronco,” Thomas said on 104.3 The Fan on Wednesday, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic. “That’s where I got drafted, that’s where I played well. … A lot of friends that consider me family are out there. I love Denver. But it had to go down the way it did. It is what it is. I’ll retire there one day.”

If the Broncos elect to pass on his services, Thomas would offer the Giants a reliable WR with high upside. He is three years removed from a 1083 yard campaign, including five touchdown receptions. In 2019, he posted 433 yards and one score over 58 targets. He can be serviceable in the passing game, having logged 84 yards against the Giants last year on a 66.7% catch-rate. His experience could be useful for players like Darius Slayton, and having a trustworthy number four pass-catcher would only benefit Jones.

New York Jets: Four Late Free Agents That Should Be Brought Back

The free agent frenzy has mollified, but the New York Jets would be smart to handle matters with a handful of their own unsigned players.

Professional football discussions are currently centered on the draft. The free agency period thus feels like a distant memory, but, for several recent New York Jets, it remains an all-too-current reality.

Entering Thursday, the Jets still have 14 players in the free agency pool. The team has made plenty of moves on the transaction front, but a few more could truly solidify them for the 2020 season…

P Lac Edwards

We spoke about the Jets’ holes in the special teams department earlier this week. Edwards’ lingering free agency is only exacerbating the tenuous situation. Former Steelers summer leg Ian Berryman is currently destined to take the role as the only punter on the roster.

Edwards endured a heavy workload last season (an NFL-high yardage of 3,991 on an equally-high 87 punts), but he tied for eighth in punts inside the 20 (28). It seems like a trivial matter, but a reliable punter is a must-have accessory for an offense that struggles to consistently score. Having built a rapport with long snapper Thomas Hennessy and drawn the praises of special teams coordinator Brant Boyer, Edwards could be an under-the-radar signing that puts both the offense and defense at ease.

S Rontez Miles

Miles is one of the NFL’s most undersung success stories. A California alum…not the Golden Bears of Berkeley, but the California University of Pennsylvania on the Division II level…that entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Miles has built himself a respectable NFL career primarily through special teams exploits. His efforts with the team were rewarded last season with a team captaincy.

Assisting Miles’ case is the Jets’ failed signing of former Los Angeles Ram Marqui Christian. The veteran safety was set to sign with the Jets before a salary dispute caused the deal to fall through. For a team in desperate need of veteran leadership, Miles’ experience could be indispensable.

RB Bilal Powell

Another longtime Jet that has yet to be invited back is Powell, the longest-tenured guy in green at nine seasons. During the Jets’ endless stream of starts on the offensive line, Powell was able to lead the team with a 3.9 rushing average. A decent average has been part of Powell’s repertoire since his 2011 entry. Over the past nine seasons, Powell’s 4.32 ranks 12th in the NFL amongst rushers with at least 800 attempts.

The Jets upgraded their offensive line this offseason, which should allow Bell to at least reach a closer version of Pittsburgh self. Spell options, however, remain slim in the form of Josh Adams, Kenneth Dixon, and Trenton Cannon. With fellow free agent Ty Montgomery failing to find a true spot in the rushing rotation, bringing back the reliable Powell makes a lot of sense.

WR Demaryius Thomas

Renovations on the blocking front have provided a long-sought sense of hope for the Jets’ offense. But there’s no denying that the loss of Robby Anderson was a big blow. For example, whereas Anderson scored 20 touchdowns for the Jets since his 2016 entry, no other Jets receiver reached double-digits. Sam Darnold’s current top target is destined to be Breshad Perriman after a stellar season wrap-up with Tampa Bay. Jamison Crowder returns in the slot, but a whole bunch of uncertainty lies behind him.

Thomas probably isn’t at a level where he can be a reliable top target. But the Jets could his experience and veteran leadership on a roster in desperate need of older help. It may be a lot to ask Thomas to duplicate his stellar numbers from Denver, but a young quarterback like Darnold needs a seasoned veteran to help him out. He recently told Denver radio station 104.3 The Fan (KKFN-FM) that he was very willing to return for an eleventh season.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Debate: Should the New York Giants take a WR at 4?

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

As the NFL season comes to a close, fans of the New York Giants have already begun speculating moves that their beloved team should do this offseason.  Something that has become all too familiar over the last few seasons.

One position of intrigue and debate is wide receiver.  After trading away Odell Beckham Jr. and being thin at the position, many wonders if the Giants will take an elite receiver at the top of this April’s NFL Draft.  Others, on the other hand, believe this would be a mistake. Which side are you on?

Making the case for a WR in Round 1

With the 4th overall pick in hand and considering the needs of Washington and Detroit in front of them, the New York Giants very likely could miss out on a premier defensive talent yet again.  Chase Young seems bound for Washington. Isaiah Simmons’ performance has made him a strong candidate to go 3rd overall. So, what does that mean for the Giants?

Popular options include trading back to a quarterback hungry team, taking a young offensive tackle or grabbing another cornerback.  However, many others think the New York Giants should be taking a wide receiver. 

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb have been considered by some to be ideal selections for the Giants.  Jeudy has been compared to the Cowboys’ Amari Cooper and can be the outside receiver New York covets. His speed and agility make him a threat at all levels.  

Then there is CeeDee Lamb.  Lamb has incredible ball skills and control of his 6’2” frame.  Many compare Lamb to Houston’s Deandre Hopkins or even 6-time Pro Bowler, Reggie Wayne.  How could the New York Giants pass on that?

Even if the Giants were to trade down, the talent in this draft class at the receiver is very deep.  Clemon’s Tee Higgins, Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III, LSU’s Justin Jefferson, and Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr. are just some of the names that could be called in the 1st round.

Making the case against a WR in Round 1

The depth of this receiving class may be the strongest case against taking a receiver in the first round.  It is no secret that the New York Giants have needed all over, especially on the defense and offensive line.  Is taking a receiver in the Top 5 really the best use of draft capital?

Without trading out, the Giants are sitting in a great position to address many needs with premier talent.  Isaiah Simmons is an ideal fit, but may not be available. Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah is another top prospect that will be available with the 4th pick.  The tackle position is very top-heavy, with Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas all being considered as the best tackle prospect in the class. 

The Giants have a talented group of receivers already, but they are thin at the position.  With the injuries they suffered last season, having depth is critical. Taking a wide receiver later in the draft may be their best option.  Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, Southern Cal’s Michael Pittman Jr. and Ohio State’s K.J.Hill are just some of the names the Giants could call at any point in the later rounds.  Temple wide receiver Isaiah Wright has been impressing scouts this week at the Shrine Bowl and could very well be a breakout player in the NFL.

What about the free-agent market?

The New York Giants are going to have a ton of money available for free agency.  If they prioritize the offensive line and defense in the NFL Draft, they have some options in free agency in order to build out the depth at wide receiver.

New York can definitely bring back guys that WR Coach Tyke Tolbert is familiar with.  Cody Latimer, Cody Core, and even Da’Mari Scott would all be unsurprising returns to the Giants.  If the G-Men dip elsewhere in free agency, they do have options. They could look to add a veteran with a one year deal, much like Randall Cobb, Demaryius Thomas or Danny Amendola.  The veteran option giving them depth, talent, and experience as a stop-gap for the season.

What about a younger option that could be signed for a longer deal?  WR Amari Cooper hasn’t be resigned by Dallas… yet. The Jets Robby Anderson looks to be headed to the open market and will be sought after.  There are also options like Rashard Higgins, who showed flashes with his time in Cleveland before the Browns brought in Landry and Odell.

Whatever the case may be, the New York Giants will have to address the lack of depth at wide receiver.  The talent is there, especially with the emergence of Darius Slayton, but there is a longevity concern that will need to be taken into consideration.  

New York Jets: Trevor Siemian To Start In Wake Of Darnold’s Absence

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

Mono, is a tough illness. It makes you heavily contagious and it’s a butt-kicker. It now has taken out the franchise quarterback, Sam Darnold. Darnold was reportedly very sick and dropping weight excessively, this resulted in him being sent home on Wednesday with “strep throat”. Symptoms progressed and Donald was diagnosed with mono. This will take him out of action for at least a few weeks. So now, in the week of his absence with a stretch of huge games coming up, Trevor Siemian must be trusted to step up and fill in for Darnold.

Trevor Siemian Has Experience

This is not Trevor Siemian’s first rodeo as a starting quarterback. When Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler left Siemian became the QB 1 in Denver. Siemian inherited a defending super bowl championship squad and put up really solid first starting season numbers. Siemian finished the season with 3,401 yards, 18 TDs, and 10 INTs. Then with the job his to lose he started 10/16 games and finished his year with 2,285 yards, 12 TDs, and 14 INTs. Siemian struggled and ultimately lost his starting job because of it. Siemian went to Minnesota briefly but found a home for this season with the New York Jets as the backup to Sam Darnold. Coach Gase reportedly felt Siemian could be a capable short term starter. Now, Siemian will have to prove his coach right.

Trevor Siemian Could See Success

Unlike other analysts I’m not writing off the games Siemian starts. As I dove deeper into it, Siemian is very good at allowing the ball to be put into playmakers hands. He also will have a bunch of big playmakers who are perfect for check-downs and screen passes in Robby Anderson, Ty Montgomery, Le’Veon Bell, and Jamison Crowder. If those 4 are used to be his security blankets and allow him to dump it off to them, it could really help. The most familiar weapon he will have is new WR Demaryius Thomas. Thomas played some of his best ball with Adam Gase as his coordinator and if Gase can take advantage of his skill set in the absence of Enunwa it could look like a really good trade for the Jets. Thomas will be able to be eased in especially because his QB for the next few games already has a rhythm with him. Siemian and Thomas have been teammates since Siemian came into the league. They built a solid connection and Gase would be wise to use that to their advantage. The only major concern is the setup of the offense around Siemian. Darnold is mobile and with an offensive line that is still not cohesive, that is essential. Siemian is a pure pocket passer who may struggle in this situation. If he can utilize the Jets playmakers as I previously mentioned in check down situations that could ease the pressure slightly.

In The End, It’s Only Temporary

Sam Darnold will be back soon. However, the Jets face a huge stretch of games with some being must win. The New York Jets need to pull off a win against a few of these squads while Darnold is absent or the Jets can kiss their hopes goodbye. If they walk into the Bye Week at 0-3 they already will be in deep trouble. Quite frankly the pressure is on Siemian and if he can’t deliver the Jets are screwed.

New York Jets: What Can We Expect from Demaryius Thomas?

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.

 

New York Giants News, 9/2 – Former Pro Bowl wide receiver available

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

The Giants seem to be confident in their wide receiver corps heading into the regular season next Sunday, but a new development has offered them another option, former Pro Bowler, Demaryius Thomas.

The current group consists of Golden Tate (suspended for first four games), Sterling Shepard, Cody Core, Rusell Shepard, Cody Latimer, and Darius Slayton. Thomas could fit in perfectly while Tate misses time, but the Giants might be unwilling to give up any of their players to take a flier on a player coming off a torn Achilles.

However, in the preseason finale against the Giants, Thomas put up in impressive stat-line — seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns. He’s a veteran body that is still capable of being a productive player. He likely wouldn’t be an overly costly addition to the team and can act as another quality wideout for the offense.

Additionally, he could be a trustworthy mentor for Darius Slayton and provide the team with added production while Tate serves his suspension.

The Giants also added former Bengals WR Cody Core on Sunday through waivers. Core earned 130-yards and a score in his third season in the NFL last year. It seems to be a better salary cap move given Core is likely on a veteran deal. In my opinion, though, releasing T.J. Jones for Core doesn’t make much sense.

Nonetheless–

Matt Lombardo (NJ.com) – NFL rumors: 10 players Giants can target after roster cuts | Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Marshall, more

John Fennelly (Giants Wire) – 5 surprises from Giants’ roster cutdown day 

Alexander Wilson (Empire Sports Media) – New York Giants could claim hard-hitting safety Mailk Jefferson