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The Lions didn’t seem to be in need of a wide receiver, but trading for the Jaguars’ Mike Thomas makes sense on multiple levels. Thomas, acquired Nov. 1 for a fifth-round pick in 2014, strengthens the club’s WR depth, which took a hit with the loss of Nate Burleson to a season-ending broken leg in Week Seven. Also, Calvin Johnson and Titus Young are dealing with nagging knee injuries. The 5-8, 198-pound Thomas also gives the club a more experienced alternative in the slot, where rookie Ryan Broyles — about a year removed from ACL surgery — has assumed a bigger role recently. Thomas also can return kicks, which adds to his value.
“I see him kind of as an offensive utility player for us and also a special-teams guy,” Lions GM Martin Mayhew told reporters. “Coaches will decide how to use him, but he’s a very talented guy who can help us win football games.”
We’re told that this could be a nice change of scenery for the 25-year-old Thomas, who showed promise earlier in his Jaguars career but slumped a season ago and had fallen down the pecking order this season. In Johnson, the Lions have one of the NFL’s premier deep threats, but QB Matthew Stafford spreads the ball around to a variety of targets, and the bulk of his passes are short.
“I think he’ll fit in well with them,” said an NFL personnel source familiar with Thomas.