The Patriots have signed wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, adding another contender for playing time to their receiving corps. But it remains to be seen how much (if anything) Thomas has left.

The NFL Network reports indicate Thomas signed a one-year deal worth up to $6 million, but that might be misleading. It’s possible most of the money is tied to incentives that won’t be reached. And with this deal having just been signed, the amount of guaranteed money is unknown. (If the Patriots aren’t paying Thomas much money up front, they would have the ability to look at him throughout August and painlessly release him if they didn’t like what they saw.)

Thomas suffered an Achilles injury in December and isn’t certain to be 100 percent when training camp open. He’s also a 31-year-old receiver who simply isn’t nearly as explosive as he was in the past. Over the last two years he’s averaged only 11.5 yards per catch. Among players with at least 100 receptions, only 11 have averaged fewer yards per catch (and all but two were slot receivers).

With less speed, Thomas nowadays looks more like Brandon Marshall – a big receiver who needs to rely on his size. He doesn’t get much separation, so more balls turn into contested situations (see photo).

T.Y. Hilton1332,23616.810
Tyreek Hill1622,66216.419
Mike Evans1572,52516.113
Brandin Cooks1452,28615.812
Julio Jones2013,12115.511
Robby Anderson1131,69315.013
Tyler Lockett1021,52014.912
A.J. Green1211,77214.614
Robert Woods1422,00014.111
Cooper Kupp1021,43514.111
DeAndre Hopkins2112,95014.024
JuJu Smith-Schuster1692,34313.914
Antonio Brown2052,83013.824
Amari Cooper1231,68513.714
Alshon Jeffery1221,63213.415
Odell Beckham1021,35413.39
Keenan Allen1992,58913.012
Adam Thielen2042,64913.013
Devin Funchess1071,38913.012
Doug Baldwin1251,60912.913
Sterling Shepard1251,60312.86
Davante Adams1852,27112.323
Emmanuel Sanders1181,42312.16
Nelson Agholor1261,50411.912
Mohamed Sanu1331,54111.69
Jermaine Kearse1021,18111.66
Michael Thomas2292,65011.614
Demaryius Thomas1421,62611.510
Stefon Diggs1661,87011.317
Michael Crabtree1121,22510.911
Golden Tate1661,79810.89
Taylor Gabriel1001,06610.73
Larry Fitzgerald1781,89010.612
Adam Humphries1371,44710.66
Jordy Nelson1161,22110.59
Danny Amendola1201,23410.33
Jarvis Landry1931,96310.213
Randall Cobb1041,03610.06
Cole Beasley1019869.87

If we wind it back to the 2012-13 seasons, Thomas was one of the league’s most feared deep threats – a big, fast Julio type who would consistently make plays downfield. He averaged 4 more yards per catch at that time. Over those two seasons, only seven receivers averaged more yards per catch.

Josh Gordon1372,45117.914
Torrey Smith1141,98317.412
Vincent Jackson1502,60817.415
Calvin Johnson2063,45616.817
Nate Washington1041,66516.07
DeSean Jackson1272,03216.011
Alshon Jeffery1131,78815.810
Demaryius Thomas1862,86415.424
Jordy Nelson1342,05915.415
Julio Jones1201,77814.812
T.Y. Hilton1321,94414.712
Lance Moore1021,49814.78
Michael Floyd1101,60314.67
Hakeem Nicks1091,58814.63
Golden Tate1091,58614.612
Cecil Shorts III1211,75614.510
A.J. Green1952,77614.222
Dez Bryant1852,61514.125
Steve Smith Sr.1371,91914.08
Anquan Boldin1502,10014.011
Brian Hartline1502,09914.05
Donnie Avery1001,37713.85
Eric Decker1722,35213.724
Andre Johnson2213,00513.69
Michael Crabtree1041,38913.410
Roddy White1552,06213.310
Marques Colston1582,09713.315
Victor Cruz1592,09013.114
James Jones1231,60113.017
Antonio Brown1762,28613.013
Reggie Wayne1441,85812.97
Mike Wallace1371,76612.913
Brandon Marshall2182,80312.923
Dwayne Bowe1161,47412.78
Pierre Garcon1571,97912.69
Stevie Johnson1311,64312.59
Randall Cobb1111,38712.512
Emmanuel Sanders1111,36612.37
Harry Douglas1231,46311.93
Andre Roberts1071,23011.57
Larry Fitzgerald1531,75211.514
Greg Jennings1041,17011.38
Wes Welker1912,13211.216
Danny Amendola1171,29911.15
Davone Bess1031,14011.13
Kendall Wright1581,70510.86
Julian Edelman1261,29110.29

The Patriots have a long history of kicking the tires on older receivers. Joey Galloway, Torry Holt, Reggie Wayne and Chad Johnson come to mind. To me, Thomas looks like one of those kind of guys.

New England in 2007 traded for a 30-year-old receiver who worked out very well: Randy Moss. So they haven’t missed on all of their older receiver acquisitions. But if I were walking into a draft today, I wouldn’t think there would be any chance that I would select Thomas.

—Ian Allan