Although a reunion between receiver Demaryius Thomas and former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has seemed to be inevitable for a while now, the official arrival of Thomas in New England raises a fair question as to the 31-year-old’s role with the Patriots: Will he make the final 53-man roster?
Apart from the fact that Thomas continues to recover from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in late December, his production has fallen off in the past two years. And even though he’s schooled in McDaniels’ offense, there’s a different between the way McDaniels draws up plays and The Patriot Way.
The impression created by the transaction is that Thomas instantly will be a valued member of the team. After all, a quick glance at Twitter shows that he’s making $6 million for one year. Look more closely, however. The reports are that he’ll earn “up to” $6 million; per Field Yates of ESPN.com, the base value of the deal is a mere $1.35 million, with the balance coming from incentives and bonuses that he may or may not earn.
For now, Thomas becomes the eighth receiver on the roster (that number includes special-teamer Matthew Slater, who hasn’t caught a pass since 2011). By next weekend, the Patriots could have more on the roster, from draft picks to in-draft trades (that’s how they got Randy Moss in 2007) to the land rush for undrafted free agents.
By September, there’s a chance Thomas won’t even be on the roster. Chris Simms pegged it as a 50-50 proposition during Wednesday’s PFT Live; given the experiences of veteran receivers like Eric Decker, Reggie Wayne, and Chad Johnson in New England, that may actually be a little high.