The Kansas City Chiefs broke a little news of their own Wednesday afternoon when they simultaneously announced they were signing both linebacker Terrance Smith and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas, who has been on the team for the past four seasons.
Thomas carved out a special teams role on the Chiefs in 2017 as the team’s kick returner when Tyreek Hill, who held the position as a rookie in 2016, was relieved of his duties as he got more involved in the offense.
Thomas finished the 2017 season with 14 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns, and he returned 13 kicks for 305 yards. His season ended early due to injury.
When I think about Thomas I always remember the words of special teams coordinator Dave Toub in training camp last year.
“Last year, De’Anthony ended up becoming one of my best special teams players,” Toub said. “He ended up making a whole bunch of tackles. He is a solid catcher. He is tough—pound for pound he is the toughest player we got.”
Toub and the Chiefs value that Thomas plays a role in all phases of special teams.
“He is not afraid,” Toub added. “He is 176 pounds. He plays like a 200 pounder. He is not afraid to stick his head in there on kickoff and make tackles. He is real tough as a gunner. He has quickness and top speed so he makes plays there. Then he brings a lot in the return game, both kick return and punt return.”
During a 2018 offseason in which the Chiefs are needing to be strategic with their spending, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also added Thomas took less money to stay with the Chiefs.
De’Anthony Thomas turned down $1.5M more from another team to stay in KC. Must like what they are building. https://t.co/zEuNGrHw2k— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2018
That is a lot of money for anyone to leave on the table.