The Patriots needed more depth at the wide receiver position, and they got it on Tuesday by signing veteran wideout Demaryius Thomas to a one-year deal reportedly worth up to $6 million.
Thomas, who suffered a torn Achilles in Week 16 of last season, tallied 677 yards and five touchdowns during his time with Denver and Houston in 2018.
This marks the Pats' third receiver acquisition of the offseason as they also signed Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris to one-year contracts. Phillip Dorsett was re-signed on a one-year deal as well.
With that, here's an updated look at the Patriots' wide receiver depth:
- Julian Edelman
- Phillip Dorsett
- Demaryius Thomas
- Bruce Ellington
- Maurice Harris
- Braxton Berrios
- Matthew Slater
- Josh Gordon (Currently suspended. Patriots used RFA tender worth $2.025 million.)
Of course, there's a chance Bill Belichick adds another receiver or two to the mix via the NFL Draft, which begins April 25.
The Patriots lost receivers Cordarrelle Patterson (Bears) and Chris Hogan (Panthers) in free agency this offseason.
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Third in our series looking ahead to the opening of Patriots training camp July 26.
Figure the Patriots will keep five wideouts (not including special teams ace Matthew Slater) when they enter into Week 1 of the regular season. Even with Julian Edelman scheduled to serve a four-game suspension to start the year, even with that slot opening up the potential for a receiver on the bubble to make the club, this figures to be one of the most competitive positions in camp.
Chris Hogan will be relied upon thanks to his experience and versatility. And figure Cordarrelle Patterson has a place on the roster as the entire league ventures into a post-kickoff rules change world.
After that? Hard to say.
COUNTDOWN TO CAMP - Gimme s'more: New additions to keep an eye on
Jordan Matthews should have the inside track on a role for an offense that will likely be looking for some help on the inside. He's the most experienced slot receiver on the roster after Edelman, but Braxton Berrios and Riley McCarron could make a run themselves -- particularly if the punt-return work is up for grabs and they snatch it.
On the outside, the competition is tougher. There may not be room for Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett and Malcolm Mitchell on the same roster even though their skill sets differ. Britt has the size and athleticism to make good on the potential he showed as a first-round pick in 2009. Will being paired with Tom Brady help him finally break through consistently? Dorsett's size and speed may make him the closest thing on the roster to Brandin Cooks. Do the Patriots feel there's room for him to grow now that he's back for Year 2? For Mitchell, the question is always the same: Will he be healthy?
How those three questions are answered could determine who has a place in New England and who doesn't. The way their contracts are structured, none of them are locks. It'll come down to how they look during what Bill Belichick annually refers to as a "competition camp." Spring practices were for learning. Now it's time to go.
Second in our series looking ahead to the opening of Patriots training camp July 26.
Patriots reporters had access to a handful of the team's spring workouts, but for fans, training camp represents the first opportunity to see the latest iteration of their team in person. And given the number of roster alterations made this offseason, there will be plenty for them to take in.
Let's start with the first-round rookies. Isaiah Wynn and where he ends up on the offensive line will be worth a look. How Sony Michel's speed and pass-catching ability factors into the Patriots offense will be fascinating as well.
Fellow first-year players Duke Dawson (will he compete as the "star" in the slot for Bill Belichick), Braxton Berrios (might there be an opening for him with Julian Edelman suspended), Ja'Whaun Bentley (could he help patrol the middle of the defense), JC Jackson and Keion Crossen (athletic corners who impressed in the spring) will garner interest as well.
Then there are the veteran additions. Danny Shelton's arrival could prompt the Patriots and Brian Flores to lean on more 3-4 looks. Adrian Clayborn may provide the defense with a pass-rushing boost, particularly on third downs off the right side. Jeremy Hill looks like he'll compete with Mike Gillislee for "big back" duties. Cordarrelle Patterson might be able to take advantage of the new kickoff rules to make an impact as a return man.
The newcomer who may generate the most interest? Jordan Matthews. His experience in the slot could make him a featured piece in the Patriots offense with Edelman out at the start of the season.