Demaryius Thomas Would Be Welcome Mentor to Young Seahawks Receivers
Heading towards free agency, the Seahawks could lose three receivers who logged significant playing time during the 2019 season: Jaron Brown, David Moore, and the embattled Josh Gordon.
In all likelihood, none of those three players will return in 2020, leaving Seattle with a gaping hole on the depth chart at receiver, especially lacking a veteran presence witht he exception of Tyler Lockett.
To fill that void, Seattle needs to proceed with caution, not wanting to stunt the growth of budding star D.K. Metcalf. Whoever comes into the locker room should not take targets away from Metcalf or Lockett and will need to be accepting less targets in a reserve role.
This limits the options for the Seahawks’ brass to consider on the free agent market. In the midst of his prime, Amari Cooper will be well outside of the team's financial comfort zone. Even coming off injury, A.J. Green will likely be well outside of their price range, while Emmanuel Sanders could also be a tad bit too expensive for Seattle.
While Green, Sanders, and Cooper would all be quality additions for different reasons, if the Seahawks want to add a quality veteran at a reasonable price, Demaryius Thomas could be the answer.
Seahawks fans should recognize Thomas, and not just for taking a hit stick from safety Kam Chancellor in Super Bowl XLVII. He was one of the only Broncos who had a good night against the Seahawks in New Jersey, catching 13 passes for 118 yards and the lone Denver touchdown in Seattle's 43-8 convincing title victory.
Now 32 years old, Thomas is certainly a far cry from his days with the Broncos, when he played in four Pro Bowls and had five straight 1,000-yard seasons, including helping the Broncos win a Super Bowl in 2015. His production has declined substantially each of the past three years.
Two years ago, Thomas split time with the Broncos and Texans, combining for 677 receiving yards before suffering a torn Achilles tendon. In 2019, after being waived by the Patriots,he latched on with the Jets and caught 36 passes for 433 yards and one score in 11 games while battling additional injuries.
But while injuries are often a concern for aging players like Thomas, he's well-liked in the locker room. He emerged as a leader for the Jets after a rough start and even became a team captain in the middle of the season, which speaks volumes about how well-respected he is.
Thomas isn't your typical diva receiver, constantly demanding attention and being a consistent distraction. That's never been his character.
Players like Metcalf and even Lockett would gravitate to Thomas, who has a lot of feathers in his cap. The Georgia Tech alum is sixth among active receivers with 9,763 receiving yards. In the postseason, he has racked up over 750 receiving yards in 10 games with two Super Bowl appearances.
Thomas would be an outstanding mentor for Metcalf, as he knows a thing or two about excelling as a big-bodied receiver at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. And because he's in the twilight of his career, there wouldn't be any concern about him stunting Metcalf’s growth or stepping on Lockett’s toes as target number one. Those days are well behind him.
But even as he nears the end of the road, Thomas proved last year that he's still good enough to contribute with 40 to 50 catches and supplement the strong offensive talent Seattle boasts across the board, especially catching passes from Russell Wilson.
If the Seahawks have interest in Thomas, a team-friendly deal should be feasible, as the market will be much hotter for the top tier receivers like Green and Cooper. He had an affordable cap hit of about $2.7 million for the Jets last season and given his age, recent production, and injury history, he will likely receive a similar deal this year.
Wilson has made it clear publicly that he wants more weapons and while Thomas isn't the star he once was, if healthy, he still can be a valuable complementary veteran alongside Lockett and Metcalf.