Demaryius Thomas would be a valuable vet for the Jets

New York Jets

Demaryius Thomas’ days as a No. 1 wide receiver are long gone, but he can still be valuable to the New York Jets.

At 32 years old, Demaryius Thomas has not garnered any interest on the free agent market this offseason. But he apparently wants to keep playing, and Connor Hughes of The Athletic (subscription required) has reported the New York Jets are “still talking” with the veteran wide receiver.

Thomas spent last season with the Jets, tallying 36 catches for 433 yards and one touchdown in 11 games. His peak from 2012-2016 with the Denver Broncos, when he topped 1,300 yards in the first four of those years as a primary target for Peyton Manning, is long gone. But for the Jets, a veteran wide receiver who has been around the block would carry intangible value.

Should the Jets sign Demaryius Thomas?

Jamison Crowder was the Jets’ leading receiver last year (78 receptions for 833 yards and six touchdowns), and he was the most trusted target for quarterback Sam Darnold. The team  swapped Robby Anderson for Breshad Perriman in free agency, and drafted Denzel Mims in the second round of April’s draft. But beyond that top three wide receivers is a concern, with Vyncint Smith and Braxton Berrios occupying the final two spots on the depth chart right now.

Over nine games after Darnold returned from mono last year, Thomas had 31 receptions (on 47 targets) for 387 yards and a touchdown. Not the most robust numbers, but Thomas has that sample of history working with Darnold to go along with a role as a veteran mentor to Mims if he came back to the Jets.

Thomas is also within pretty easy range of a career milestone if he can find an opportunity to play this year, which looks like it’ll be the Jets or nowhere at this point. He is 237 yards away from becoming the 49th player in NFL history to reach 10,000 receiving yards.

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