The Chicago Bears and new general manager Phil Emery have turned some heads this offseason in the unorthodox signings of some free agents and draft picks. Nobody saw the pic of Brandon Hardin coming, especially after he missed most of last season. However, Hardin seems to be working out for the Bears so far. Instead of giving running back Matt Forte an extension, the team went out and signed veteran back Michael Bush (we have yet to see how this one turns out).
But perhaps the most questioned signing was when the Bears went out and signed Devin Thomas to the team.
Thomas was an absolute phenom in high school. He played all over the field and was named an All-State player for the state of Michigan. After that, he went off to college and had one really good year at Michigan State University. In that one year, he got 79 catches, 1,260 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He decided to skip his senior year and go on to play in the NFL, where he was selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins.
Thomas's career in the NFL at wide receiver has been, well, challenging at best. He was placed on waivers by the Redskins, picked up by the Carolina Panthers, placed on waivers again and then finally landed in New York with the Giants. In his career in the NFL, Thomas has only acquired 462 receiving yards and three touchdowns. So why did the Bears sign him?
The answer is simple: special teams. Thomas has made a name for himself at special teams, and let's face it, that's where the Bears do well. In any other system, Corey Graham would have been cut long ago. But because of the need for hard-hitting special teams players on the Bears, he was kept on solely for his role on special teams and was eventually named to the Pro Bowl. Now that he is gone, the team needs somebody who can play on special teams and who knows what he is doing. That's where Thomas comes in.
Devin Thomas made a lot of noise with the Giants, especially in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco Giants. Thomas is the one who recovered the infamous fumble in OT that lead to a Giants victory and eventual Super Bowl victory.
Don't expect Thomas to make a lot of noise with the Bears at WR. At 6'2" and 221 pounds, he isn't the biggest of targets. Plus, the team already has Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery new in their system. Training two new players at one position is enough for one team.
The Bears signed Thomas for his role on special teams, and that is where he is going to be utilized. He can have a huge impact on the team and may even make the Pro Bowl, like Corey Graham did with the team.
However, when it comes to wide receiver, don't expect Devin Thomas to make a whole lot of noise. When it all comes down to it, Thomas can help the Bears get more wins this season; without him, the Giants may not have even won the Super Bowl, but his contributions this year will all come from special teams.