Riding a five-game winning streak and loading up for the second half of the season without Will Fuller V, the Texans fortified their offense by trading for Demaryius Thomas of the Broncos. The trade, contingent on Thomas passing a physical, is the biggest in-season acquisition in franchise history.
You’ve watched Thomas play.
He’s in his ninth year and has faced the Texans three times (he missed the 2010 meeting at Mile High). You’ve seen him catch passes from Peyton Manning in two Super Bowls. He also caught an 80-yard game winner from Tim Tebow in the 2011 playoffs.
He’s an accomplished playmaker who put up ridiculous numbers in four glorious seasons with Manning, averaging over 1,400 yards, 100 catches and 10 touchdowns per year. He’s a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, making it for the fifth time when Trevor Siemian took over as starter in 2016.
Thomas came out of college with a sub 4.4 40 yard dash time and a bigger frame than Andre Johnson. He’s in his ninth year but has plenty of tread left on the tires. This is not just a Will Fuller V replacement. Thomas is a weapon who will give Bill O’Brien and Deshaun Watson plenty of exciting options offensively.
More importantly, opposing defensive coordinators now have to deal with yet another playmaker who can heavily influence coverage and open things up for DeAndre Hopkins.
This trade should not just be looked at as getting a wide receiver in a vacuum. He will fit in nicely with the other pass catchers the Texans currently employ. And he will likely enjoy playing with a dynamic, mobile quarterback who extends plays and looks to throw the ball deep.
Thomas was a favorite of the fans and quarterbacks in Denver. But John Elway made it clear he wants to play the young receivers. He leaves the Broncos in second and third place in franchise history in yards and receptions, respectively.
There’s really nothing to compare this to in the history of the Texans. They’ve never gone to a top-shelf trade option during a season when a player goes down. Sure, different quarterbacks have been brought in when injuries hit that position. I also think back to 2009 when Owen Daniels got hurt in week eight as the team climbed to 5-3. Or even Demeco Ryans in week six of 2010. There were no deals like this. But rarely are players the caliber of Thomas available.
O’Brien and Brian Gaine talked about alignment and their goals in the off season and now it’s clear that they feel they need a boost to the receiver corps to get to where they want to go. Now it’s up to the coaching staff and the players to get Thomas meshed into the attack as quickly as possible.
Check out some of the best shots from WR Demaryius Thomas' NFL career. Photos via AP Images.