Demaryius Thomas

This Date In Transactions History: Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas Sign Extensions

With the deadline looming for extension-eligible players, two of the league’s top wideouts signed lucrative extensions with their organizations on this day eight years ago. On July 15, 2015, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas signed new deals with their squads.

The two 2010 first-round WRs were slapped with the franchise tag before they could hit unrestricted free agency, and negotiations with their respective teams hadn’t necessarily gone smoothly. In fact, the NFL Players Association threatened to file a collusion complaint against the Cowboys and Broncos over the lack of extension progress, and both Bryant and Thomas began teased holdouts as the July 15 deadline approached.

Ultimately, both players ended up getting their desired pacts from their new squads, with the duo seeking deals that approached Calvin Johnson‘s $16.21MM average annual salary. Bryant and Thomas ultimately signed similar five-year, $70MM deals; the two players were previously attached to franchise tags worth $12.8MM.

At that point of his career, Bryant had established himself as one of the league’s elite wideouts. At the time of his signing, Bryant hadn’t missed a game in three seasons, and he was coming off his third-straight campaign with at least 88 catches and 12 touchdowns. He took it to another level during his contract year, hauling in a career-high 16 touchdowns while tying a career-best 15.0 yards-per-catch mark.

Unfortunately for the receiver and the Cowboys, that 2014 campaign that preceded his extension was the last time Bryant would earn an All-Pro selection in his career. His 2015 season was limited to only eight games while he dealt with a lingering foot injury, although he did return to Pro Bowl status in 2016 after finishing with 50 catches and eight touchdowns in 13 games. Bryant managed to revert to his durable self during the 2017 season, appearing in all 16 games. However, his 12.1 yards-per-reception mark set a new career-low, and with two years remaining on his deal, the Cowboys moved on from the wideout.

Bryant joined the Saints for the 2018 season, but he ended up missing the year thanks to a torn Achilles. He sat out the 2019 season while seeking a new job before catching on with the Ravens in 2020. He caught six passes in six games for Baltimore, and he hasn’t earned an NFL contract since that gig.

The Broncos got a bit more production out of their extension with Thomas. Prior to signing his new deal, the receiver was coming off a three-year stretch where he averaged 99 receptions, 1,494 receiving yards, and close to 12 touchdowns per season (he added another five scores in five playoff games). While Thomas would never hit those numbers again, his first season under his new deal was still plenty productive. The wideout finished the year with 1,304 receiving yards and six touchdowns before earning his lone Super Bowl championship.

Thomas would only have one more 1,000-yard season after 2015. Despite losing Peyton Manning under center for the 2016 season, the receiver still earned a Pro Bowl nod after compiling 1,083 yards. Inconsistent QB play led to Thomas finishing with only 949 receiving yards in 2017, and with the Broncos eyeing a rebuild in 2018, Thomas was traded to the Texans. Following a brief stint with the Patriots during the 2019 preseason, Thomas caught on with the Jets, hauling in 36 receptions in 11 games. After not playing during the 2020 season, Thomas announced his retirement.

Teams are naturally cautious when it comes to handing out big-money extensions. You can’t blame the Cowboys nor the Broncos for extending their star wideouts, but it also shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise that neither player ended up completing their deals with their respective teams.

Former NFL WR Demaryius Thomas Passes Away

Former Pro Bowl wideout Demaryius Thomas has passed away, according to Miles Garrett of Fox 5 Sports in Atlanta (on Twitter). Mike Klis of 9News in Denver has confirmed the sad news. Thomas would have turned 34 later this month.

Thomas was a first-round pick by the Broncos back in 2010, and he proceeded to spend eight-plus seasons with the Broncos. The wideout really broke out in 2012 when Peyton Manning took over under center, and Thomas finished with at least 1,000 receiving yards for five-straight seasons. The wideout earned five consecutive Pro Bowl nods between 2012 and 2016, and he was a second-team All-Pro in 2013 and 2014.

The receiver was also a major part of the Broncos’ Super Bowl run in 2015. The wideout finished the regular season with 105 receptions for 1,304 yards and six touchdowns, and he added another seven receptions in three postseason games.

Thomas ranks second in Broncos history in receiving yards (9,055) and receiving touchdowns (60), and he ranks third in receptions (665). He also owns the franchise records in playoff receptions (53).

Following his stint with the Broncos, Thomas spent time with the Texans, Patriots, and Jets. The receiver added another 59 receptions, 708 yards, and three touchdowns to his impressive resume during this time. He announced his retirement from the NFL back in June.

We here at PFR would like to extend our condolences to Thomas’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Demaryius Thomas Announces Retirement

Although Demaryius Thomas did not play last season, the Pro Bowl wide receiver said during the 2020 offseason he did not intend to retire. The decorated pass catcher has changed his mind a year later.

Thomas announced Monday he will walk away after a 10-year career (video link). The former first-round pick played for the Broncos, Texans, and Jets — with a short stopover with the Patriots — from 2010-19. While the 33-year-old receiver donned four uniforms, he will be remembered primarily for his work in Denver.

Despite coming out of a run-heavy system at Georgia Tech, the 6-foot-3 wideout became one of the NFL’s top receivers in the 2010s. Thomas made four Pro Bowls while with the Broncos and operated as the team’s No. 1 receiver throughout Peyton Manning‘s time in Denver. Thomas reeled off five straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2012-16, and that period doubled as the second-highest peak in Broncos franchise history.

Shortly after trading Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins, the Broncos drafted Thomas in the 2010 first round. Injuries slowed the big-bodied target to start his career, but he did not miss a game for six full seasons after starting the 2011 slate late because of an offseason Achilles tear. Thomas proved essential for Denver’s unorthodox Tim Tebow-directed attack in 2011, and his 80-yard walk-off touchdown — to cap a 204-yard performance — against the Steelers in the wild-card round doubles as one of this era’s signature plays.

Following Manning’s 2012 arrival, Thomas played a centerpiece role for a Broncos team that earned three No. 1 seeds in four years. He teamed with Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas on a talented pass-catching corps in 2013, when the Manning-piloted offense set the NFL single-season scoring record (606 points) en route to Super Bowl XLVIII. Thomas led that team in receiving and caught a career-high 14 touchdown passes. In 2014, he posted a career-most 1,619 yards. This drove the Broncos to give him a five-year, $70MM extension — which occurred within minutes of Dez Bryant‘s identical deal at the 2015 franchise tag deadline. That season, which featured a noticeable Manning decline, Thomas’ 1,304 receiving yards paced the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos.

Thomas played four seasons on that deal, finishing it out in Houston. The Broncos ended Thomas’ eight-plus-year tenure at the 2018 trade deadline, sending him to the Texans. Later that season, Thomas suffered another Achilles tear — which preceded his release from Houston. Thomas finished his career with former Broncos OC Adam Gase, playing an auxiliary role for the 2019 Jets. Thomas’ 9,055 receiving yards and 60 touchdown receptions rank second in Broncos history — behind only Rod Smith.

Jets, Demaryius Thomas In Talks

The Jets are “still talking” with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic. Thomas, 32, has said that he wants to continue playing, even though he’s not the player he used to be. 

Thomas, 32, could potentially help to mentor some of the Jets’ younger players, including rookie Denzel Mims. Beyond Mims, Breshad Perriman, and Jamison Crowder the Jets are looking pretty thin at wide receiver. DT would offer experience behind that trio, where Braxton Berrios and Vyncint Smith currently sit.

Thomas tallied more than 9,000 yards across nine seasons with the Broncos. Now, he’s on the back nine of his career. After his time with the Texans, Thomas hooked on with the Patriots. Before the 2019 season started, the Patriots pulled off a rare intra-divisional trade, sending Thomas to the Jets for a sixth-round pick. The four-time Pro Bowler had 36 catches for 433 yards and one touchdown for Gang Green.

If Thomas returns to the Jets, or hooks on with another club, he’ll have an opportunity to crack 10,000 career receiving yards. Currently, Thomas has 9,763.

Jets Notes: Mosley, Bell, Flacco

Jets safety Jamal Adams remains a trade candidate, but count linebacker C.J. Mosley as a high-profile member of the defense that wants Adams to stick around.

“[Trading Adams] would be a crazy move,” Mosley said (via Rich Cimini of “First of all, he’s one of the leaders on the team. … To have that presence in the secondary, a guy that can make plays in the passing game and also plays in the backfield — in the box — that’s always exciting.” 

Mosley himself — who played in just two games in his first year with Gang Green after signing a massive free agent contract last offseason — said he feels great and expects to be at full health for training camp (assuming there is a training camp, of course).

Now let’s take a look at a few more Jets-related items:

  • Another big-name player who looks like a trade candidate is running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell disappointed in his first season with the Jets, and many believe he will be released after the 2020 campaign, which would allow the club to realize a significant cap savings with a fairly minimal dead money charge. But if the Jets look like non-contenders at the trade deadline, Ralph Vacchiano of expects them to put Bell on the trade block in the hopes of recouping some sort of draft compensation for him.
  • The Jets addressed one of their biggest needs in the first round of the draft by adding massive Louisville LT Mekhi Becton. Becton may be more raw than some of his fellow LT prospects, but he also has a tremendously high ceiling, and he could be protecting Sam Darnold‘s blind side right away. However, free agent acquisition George Fant hopes to fill that role in 2020. Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Fant wants to play on the left side, though the former Seahawk also indicated he is willing to play RT if necessary (Twitter link). “Right now I’m just ready for an opportunity,” Fant said.
  • GM Joe Douglas signed WR Breshad Perriman in free agency and added a high-upside receiving prospect in Denzel Mims in the draft, but Brian Costello of the New York Post believes the Jets could look into re-signing Demaryius Thomas. Thomas, 32, wants to continue his playing career, and though he is nowhere close to the player he once was, he proved himself to be a strong locker room presence in 2019 and could be a good mentor for Mims.
  • Veteran QB Joe Flacco may not be recovered from his neck surgery until late August or mid-September, but Cimini believes he would be a good fit for the Jets. In the same piece linked above, the ESPN scribe says New York must add a veteran backup for Darnold, and Douglas — who championed Flacco as a member of the Ravens’ staff in 2008 — could take a look at the former Super Bowl MVP.
  • Betty Wold Johnson, the mother of Jets owners Christopher Johnson and Woody Johnson, has passed away at the age of 99, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. Though Betty Johnson did not have a formal role with the team, she was considered the club matriarch and was beloved by players and execs.

Demaryius Thomas Wants To Continue Playing

Demaryius Thomas says retirement can wait. In an interview with 104.3 The Fan, the accomplished wide receiver said that he’s looking for an opportunity to play in 2020 (Twitter link via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic). 

[RELATED: Broncos Aiming To Trade Up In Draft?]

Thomas, 32, registered over 9,000 yards across nine seasons with the Broncos, but he’s now on the back nine of his career. Midway through the 2018 season, the Broncos traded DT to the Texans for what amounted to a fourth-round pick. When the Texans signed him in the following offseason, he hooked on with the Patriots.

Then, just before the 2019 season, the Patriots completed a rare intra-divisional trade to send Thomas to the Jets. Gang Green only had to give up a sixth-round pick for Thomas, a four-time Pro Bowler.

Last year, Thomas recorded 36 grabs for 433 yards and one touchdown with the Jets. Now with 9,763 career yards, Thomas says that he wants to reach 10,000. Thomas should be able to land a deal somewhere, but he’ll probably have to wait until after the draft.

Injury Notes: 9/20/19

Here are the latest significant injury-related notes from around the league:

  • Marshall Newhouse, whom the Patriots signed last week, will serve as the club’s starting left tackle until Isaiah Wynn returns, per Doug Kyed of (via Twitter).
  • As expected, Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson will not play in Week 3, but the club is still optimistic about the availability of Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert, as Eliot Shorr-Parks of tweets.
  • Buccaneers LB Devin White will not play this weekend, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard is out of the concussion protocol and will play in Week 3 per Jordan Raanan of (via PFT). Rookie QB Daniel Jones will be making his first start, so Shepard’s presence will be especially helpful.
  • The Seahawks are getting closer to full strength, as both WR David Moore and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah are expected to play in Week 3, per Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk. We had already heard that Ansah was likely to make his Seattle debut this weekend, but Moore’s return is earlier than expected, even after we learned at the end of August that he would avoid IR.
  • Top Jets defenders C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams are not expected to play this week, as Rich Cimini of tweets. The Week 3 outlook is also bleak for WR Demaryius Thomas and LB Jordan Jenkins.
  • Tyler Kroft‘s Bills debut may be put on hold for awhile longer. Kroft was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, but as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk writes, Buffalo HC Sean McDermott told reporters that Kroft injured his ankle in Thursday’s practice and will undergo further evaluation.

Jets Notes: Darnold, Mosley, Bell

Sam Darnold will miss this Sunday’s contest against the Browns after being diagnosed with mononucleosis and the quarterback could miss extended time, as Rich Cimini of relays. The risk of contagion is high with the infection and the Jets have quarantined Darnold so that he would not spread it to any of his teammates.

Trevor Siemian, who signed with the Jets this offseason, will start in Darnold’s place. Siemian is 13-11 as a starter, all of which from his time with the Broncos.

It’s unclear how many games Darnold will miss, though with New York’s bye coming in week 4, it would be surprised if we saw him on the field before then.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Brian Costello of the New York Post hears from a former NFL team physician that Darnold could miss four-to-six weeks with the ailment. “With this diagnosis of mono, an injured-reserve stint is not off the table,” Dr. David Chao said. “I’m not saying he’s going on injured reserve but this starts at four to six weeks. Any four-to-six-week injury puts IR in the conversation.”
  • LB C.J. Mosley and DL Quinnen Williams did not practice this week and are officially out for Monday’s game against Cleveland, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets. Mosley is dealing with a groin injury while Williams has a bad ankle.
  • Le’Veon Bell is dealing with an injured shoulder and is officially questionable for Monday’s game, per the team’s Twitter feed. New addition Demaryius Thomas is also among the players who may not play in the game.

Patriots Trade Demaryius Thomas To Jets

The Patriots have traded wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Jets, according to’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). In exchange, the Jets will send a 2021 sixth-round pick to New England. 

It’s a rare intra-divisional trade for two teams that have a storied history together. But, after the Patriots used draft capital to strengthen their offensive line in August, they were eager to recoup some ammo. Meanwhile, head coach Adam Gase was eager to reunite with Thomas, who was among the league’s best receivers during their time together in Denver.

Thomas is now on to his fourth team in the past year after being traded for the second time in 2019. The first swap saw him traded from the Broncos to the Texans just prior to the 2018 trade deadline. Now, after a cup of coffee with the Pats, he’s on to the Jets.

The Jets believe that Thomas can help them move the chains, even though he’s clearly not the player that he once was. The Patriots, meanwhile, will have the services of newcomer Antonio Brown, one of the game’s greatest receivers of all-time.

Patriots Give Demaryius Thomas Raise

One of a few teams to release a vested veteran over the weekend rather than expose a non-vested player to waivers, the Patriots re-signed Demaryius Thomas in advance of Week 1. The defending Super Bowl champions will give the 10th-year veteran a raise as well.

The Pats increased Thomas’ base salary from $1.2MM to $1.5MM, Field Yates of tweets. While this is minimal compared to what Thomas entered last season earning, the Patriots now have two Pro Bowlers (Thomas and Josh Gordon) and a Super Bowl MVP in their receiving corps.

Thomas entered last season in the fourth year of his five-year, $70MM deal he and the Broncos hammered out at the 2015 franchise tag deadline. The 31-year-old talent may now be a week-to-week proposition, depending on how he looks, health-wise. The Pats have not been shy about cutting veteran wideouts over the past two years, and Thomas’ status may be tenuous if/when N’Keal Harry comes off IR.

The 2010 first-round pick spent much of Patriots camp on the active/PUP list but was activated in time for a seven-catch, 87-yard, two-touchdown showing in the team’s final preseason game. Thomas suffered his severe Achilles injury in Week 16 of last season and said no other teams expressed interest. The four-time Pro Bowler, who posted 677 yards and five touchdown catches in 2018, will have a chance to prove he can still contribute.