With the status of starting wide receiver Jordan Matthews still up in the air, the Buffalo Bills have made a move to add to the group on Tuesday.
The Bills announced the signing of wide receiver Deonte Thompson to the active roster, his second stint with the Bills after spending some time at the tail end of the 2014 season and the summer of 2015 with the organization. Through his six-year NFL career, Thompson has started a total of nine games.
Thompson, 28, was just released by the Chicago Bears after having started three games and catching 11 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown. Besides the Bears and Bills, Thompson has also spent time with the Baltimore Ravens — the team he signed with as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida in 2012.
To make room, the Bills released running back and special teams contributor Joe Banyard. The Bills also signed safety LJ McCray to the practice squad, while releasing guard Jordan Mudge and defensive tackle Marquavius Lewis from the practice squad.
Joe B’s Take
The Bills needed a bit of a boost with their receivers, and they needed someone that had some bit of familiarity with starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor as well. The Bills will be getting a bit of that in the form of Deonte Thompson, a player that Taylor has ample experience with.
Thompson spent two full seasons and a third training camp with Taylor as a member of the Baltimore Ravens before Thompson was released by the team in September 2014. Then in 2015, with Thompson already a member of the Bills, Taylor signed as a free agent in the offseason and the two worked together for a fourth straight training camp.
The encouraging part about Thompson is that he started a few games for the Bears and actually made some plays for them this season — though, the Bears have had a pretty brutal passing attack through the first six weeks of the 2017 season. If they wanted someone that had a rapport with Taylor that could assimilate rather quickly, they found a passable player to do just that.
However, it’s going to be quite tough for Thompson to get up to speed quickly enough to be the huge impact that fans are really hoping for out of a new receiver on the roster. Barring a big step forward this week, it seems like Jordan Matthews is probably at least a week away from returning, but the way it’s been trending it doesn’t seem like he’ll be away from the lineup for too long.
Even if the Bills get a handful of plays from Thompson on the offensive side of the ball on Sunday, it will at least give the defense a bit of a different look from a receiver with some speed and will put a known and trustworthy commodity for Taylor on the field.
I wouldn’t expect a whole lot more than that, though, on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.