6 things to know about new Patriots wide receiver Demaryius Thomas

He caught notable touchdown passes from both Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning.

Demaryius Thomas Patriots signing
Demaryius Thomas leaps over cornerback Buster Skrine during a game in December, 2018. –Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Patriots offered a response to questions about Tom Brady’s receiving corps with the signing of free agent Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday. The 31-year-old is a well-accomplished veteran and a former Super Bowl winner.

Selected by the Broncos in the first round of the 2010 draft, he caught 665 passes and 60 touchdowns in Denver (making the Pro Bowl four times) before he was traded to the Houston Texans in October of 2018.

His season was cut short by a torn left Achilles. This came after tearing his right Achilles in 2011 (though he returned in 2012 faster than expected). If Thomas can make another comeback from the injury, he could contribute to New England’s attack.

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Here are a few things for Patriots fans to know about the team’s newest signing.

Here’s what we know about his contract.

According to NFL reporter Albert Breer, Thomas’s contract leans heavily on incentives. It has a base salary of $1.2 million, with much of the additional money earned through on-field achievements.

This is down significantly from his 2016 salary with the Broncos, when he made $13 million with a $7 million signing bonus.

He thrived in a run-heavy college offense.

Thomas averaged just 40 receptions a season in three years of college at Georgia Tech, but this was more to do with the team’s offensive scheme.

Until recently, Georgia Tech ran a triple-option offense, which focuses heavily on the run game. In his senior season in 2009, Thomas caught 46 passes. No other teammate caught more than eight. Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt completed just 75 passes, rushing the ball 279 times.

Yet Thomas turned his 46 catches into 1,154 yards (an average of 25.1 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns. His size, strength, and speed ensured he would do well against almost any college competition in any offense.

President Obama commuted prison sentences of his mother and grandmother.

In 1999, Thomas’s mother and grandmother were arrested after a raid by federal agents on their home discovered several hundred dollars which was connected to a local drug ring led by Thomas’s grandmother, Minnie Pearl Thomas. Katrina Smith, Thomas’s mother, refused to testify against Minnie. As a result of mandatory minimum sentencing for those involved with selling crack cocaine, both were given 20-year prison sentences.

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This meant that they missed watching Thomas play in person during his college career, as well as his first years in the NFL. Smith lost multiple appeal attempts before President Obama commuted her sentence in 2015. She was out and able to attend Super Bowl 50, which Thomas and the Broncos won.

That April, Thomas’s mother started a Change.org petition to get Minnie released as well. It drew over 38,000 signatures. Soon after, Thomas was at the White House with the Broncos to celebrate their Super Bowl win.

“I still remember when we were at the White House,” Thomas told The Denver Post in 2016. “I was talking about my mom and saying thank you, and the fact that [Obama] mentioned my grandmother, I knew something was going to happen.”

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In August, Obama commuted the sentences of 214 non-violent drug offenders. Minnie Pearl Thomas was among them.

He caught Tim Tebow’s last NFL touchdown pass.

In a 2012 playoff game, Thomas hauled in an 80-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in overtime to defeat the Steelers (and advance to play the Patriots in the Divisional Round). The pass came from Tim Tebow, and it would end up being the former Heisman Trophy winner’s final career touchdown pass in the NFL.

He also caught a Peyton Manning record-setting touchdown.

In October of 2014, Thomas caught Peyton Manning’s 509th career touchdown pass. This set a new all-time record, breaking the previous one held by Brett Favre.

He once yelled ‘F**k Tom Brady’ but immediately walked it back

While at a bar in Georgia in 2017, Thomas jokingly joined in on a video with a fan yelling, “F*ck Tom Brady!”

Smiling, Thomas immediately added a qualifier, “But he’s great.”