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If the Broncos are looking for WR depth, a familiar face could be an option

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Last October, the Broncos parted ways with one of the greatest players in franchise history. During his eight-plus seasons in Denver, Demaryius Thomas more than lived up to the first-round pick the franchise used on him in 2010; by the time he was traded to the Texans on the day before Halloween, DT had hauled in 665 passes, racked up 9,055 receiving yards and caught 60 touchdowns in the orange and blue.

That type of production made it hard to say goodbye, but the Broncos were ready to move on to younger options. With Courtland Sutton emerging as the team’s “big” receiver of the future, the high-priced Thomas was a luxury the team could no longer afford.

Fast forward eight months and things have changed, for both sides.

Not long after trading DT to Houston, the Broncos watched Emmanuel Sanders go down for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. By all accounts, the wideout’s recovery is going well, but he remains a bit of a question mark with training camp looming.

Other than Sanders, the Broncos roster is very inexperienced at the receiver position. Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton are entering their second seasons in the league, Tim Patrick has suited up for 16 games during his career, River Cracraft has 12 catches as a pro and rookie Juwan Winfree has yet to step on the field against an NFL opponent. As a result, there’s a chance Denver could be searching for a veteran presence by the time the regular season rolls around.

Based on reports out of New England, where Thomas signed as a free agent this offseason, the former Bronco could be available. By all accounts, DT is more likely not to make the Patriots roster than he is to catch passes from Tom Brady during the regular season.

In part, that’s due to the fact that Thomas is also recovering from a torn Achilles, an injury he suffered during his short stint with the Texans. It’s also a byproduct of DT facing a possible suspension by the NFL stemming from an offseason car accident that resulted in injuries and charges. And it’s due to the Patriots bringing in other options at the position, namely first-round pick N’Keal Harry out of Arizona State.

If Thomas becomes the odd man out in New England, it might be good news for the Broncos. His cap number is under $3 million in 2019, a figure that could drop even more if he becomes a street free agent in August or September. He’s knows the offense, having played in Gary Kubiak’s offense, which is similar to what new Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello wants to run. And he’s a familiar face, something that will make the transition smoother than it would be for players who didn’t know the city, weren’t used to the way the franchise operated, etc.

Come September, the Broncos could be looking for wide receiver help. A reunion with a future Ring of Famer would be a nice way to solve the problem.