Patriots sign former Pro Bowl wide receiver Demaryius Thomas

Nate Davis

The New England Patriots aren't waiting until next week's NFL draft to begin reloading their depleted receiving corps.

Veteran wideout Demaryius Thomas agreed to a deal Tuesday afternoon. According to NFL Network, it's a one-year contract that could be worth up to $6 million. 

A first-round draft pick in 2010 — Denver selected Thomas three spots ahead of Tim Tebow — he spent his first 8½ seasons with the Broncos before being traded to Houston midway through the 2018 season.

It's been a difficult few months for the four-time Pro Bowler. In addition to being uprooted, he tore his Achilles' tendon on Dec. 23, preventing him from participating in the Texans' wild-card loss to Indianapolis.

Thomas, 31, was released by Houston after predictably failing his physical and then ran into legal trouble, ultimately pleading guilty to careless driving after a traffic incident in February resulted in injuries to himself and two passengers.

However the Patriots were undeterred. 

Despite the recent drama, Thomas has a good reputation off the field and in the locker room. Still, his production has been in steady decline in recent years — he's averaged fewer than 700 receiving yards over the past three seasons — but his experience should be welcome to the reigning champs, who have lost Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson to free agency and then had tight end Rob Gronkowski retire well past the point when New England was in a position to sign or trade for a first-rate replacement.

Mock draft:Will Patriots take a receiver in Round 1?

Schedule:Home, away opponents for all 32 NFL teams in 2019 regular season

Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Bruce Ellington and Matthew Slater, who primarily plays special teams, are the only experienced wideouts on the roster aside from Thomas.

The Patriots currently own the last pick (No. 32) of the draft's first round but have two selections in Round 2.


Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis