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Grade The Trade: Demaryius Thomas

What grade should Brian Gaine and the Texans get for their last-minute deadline snag?

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Yesterday, the Texans floored fans and non-fans alike when the team took a dip into the wide receiver trade market to deal a fourth-round pick and seventh-round pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round pick and nine-year veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

This time a week ago, this trade would never have happened. The Texans were riding atop the AFC South standings with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. The need for a receiver was nonexistent, but then...

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

...the hopes of the season seemed to hang in the balance. I believe the Texans’ offense is at its peak when Fuller is playing at his peak. When Fuller is healthy, it adds a new dimension to the Texans’ offense. It frees up Hopkins and Lamar Miller with a huge deep threat. Long story short, Fuller is a huge part of the Houston offense and will definitely be missed until he returns for training camp.

Instead of rolling over waiting for their eventual death, the Texans decided to do something about it. They hit the phones.

They reportedly called Tampa Bay about DeSean Jackson. No dice. The Bucs are in “win-now” mode.

They also allegedly called Detroit about Golden Tate. The price was apparently too high, so they changed their focus.

Houston’s sights shifted towards Thomas and Denver. Winning a bidding war with the Patriots and perhaps the Titans, Houston came out on top with a fourth-round pick and a swap of sevenths.

In terms of Thomas’ contract, he has no guaranteed money left, which will save the Texans an enormous amount of money. With Fuller returning next season, this is truly an eight-game rental unless the Texans decide to re-sign Thomas next year at a much lower price.

I’d say the cost of the Texans acquiring Thomas is fair. A fourth-rounder is not a huge loss for the Texans and it exudes one thing: the front office believes in this team and is playing to WIN. The Texans are definitely in “win-now” mode.

In his short time on the job, this is something that Brian Gaine has done an excellent job with. Trying to improve the team is one thing, but to actually do it creates a whole new buzz around the team and boosts morale. When the front office believes in the team, it creates a whole new dynamic.

Bringing in DT, a veteran, into a unit with many young guys, including two rookies in Keke Coutee and Vyncint Smith, is also going to help this locker room overall. Having a Super Bowl champion and one of the best receivers of the past decade come in is going to make the group even hungrier. Hopefully the entire team will feed off Thomas’ energy well.

When it comes to every aspect off the field, this is a brilliant deal from the Texans.

Now, let’s transition to his on-field contributions.

Thomas stands 6’3” and will immediately slide into Fuller’s vacant spot on the outside, which will allow Coutee to stay in the slot when he returns to the lineup. That’s a plus.

Thomas has the looks of a good but not great number WR2 with the stats he has put up this season. His 402 yards place him in 39th among receivers. He’s definitely not in the prime of his career, nor has he shown signs of progression lately.

But that’s OK.

He doesn’t need to be, and there’s no guarantee that the Thomas experiment will work in Houston. I think in terms of fit, it makes a lot of sense given the timing of everything. Fans need to understand and accept the fact that Thomas is being brought in as something other than a WR1. He is not as fast as he once was, and he has racked up a lot of mileage in his NFL career.

Thomas is not as good as Fuller, so don’t expect him to replicate Fuller’s numbers. If fans see him as a Fuller replacement, they will be disappointed. Houston’s offense with Thomas opposite Hopkins is far different than the one with Fuller opposite Hopkins. If fans view Thomas as simply another weapon in Deshaun Watson’s arsenal, I believe they will be more impressed and less disappointed.

I’m going to get out my big red pen now and mark a giant A- on top of this paper. I don’t think this trade solves all of the Texans’ problems, but it certainly alleviates the receiver concern for the second half of the season and it gives the Texans a low-risk, high-reward player for eight games. That should keep the Texans competitive and give them a chance to contend and compete in this season’s playoff race.

How would you grade the Demaryius Thomas trade for the Texans?


What grade would you give the Texans for acquiring Demaryius Thoams?

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