The Denver Broncos traded nine-year veteran Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans on Tuesday.
Thomas won’t have to wait long to play his old team — the Texans (5-3) visit the Broncos (3-5) this weekend.
The Broncos will also send a 2019 seventh-rounder to Houston and will receive fourth and seventh-round picks in the 2019 draft.
The Texans found themselves thin at wide receiver when they lost Will Fuller for the season to a torn knee ligament and have had trouble keeping rookie Keke Coutee on the field.
In a conference call with Denver media on Tuesday, Texans coach Bill O'Brien said he's followed Thomas since the 6-foot-3, 230-pound receiver was at Georgia Tech before the Broncos selected him in the first round in 2010.
"He has excellent athletic skills, great hands, very smooth route runner," O'Brien said. "He's a tough guy to defend."
Thomas has amassed 66 touchdown passes in 135 games, counting playoffs. He's served as a captain and was a durable, consistent go-to receiver for quarterbacks Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton, Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian and, this year, Case Keenum.
Thomas' 36 100-yard games are the most in Broncos history and his 60 TDs in the regular season and 9,055 yards are second only to Rod Smith.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Thomas' career is a lengthy highlight reel.
He caught Peyton Manning's 509th and 510th touchdown throws that tied and broke Brett Favre's all-time record in 2014, and appeared in two Super Bowls with Manning, setting a Super Bowl record with 13 catches for 118 yards and a TD against Seattle.
Two years later, he won a championship at Super Bowl 50 with his mother in attendance. She had just been released from a federal penitentiary after then-President Barack Obama commuted her drug sentence that had taken her away from her son when he was a young teenager.
For many, Thomas' top moment was his 80-yard touchdown catch from Tebow on the first play of overtime that gave Denver a stunning 29-23 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC wild-card playoff game on Jan. 8, 2012.
Dante Fowler is headed to an actual Super Bowl contender.
The slumping Jacksonville Jaguars traded the fourth-year pro and 2015 first-round pick to the undefeated Los Angeles Rams just before the NFL trading deadline Tuesday.
The move gives the Rams an even more formidable front, which already had Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers.
The Jaguars (3-5) received a third-round draft pick in 2019 and a fifth-rounder in 2020, decent compensation for a backup who would have become a free agent at the end of the season.
The rise of Yannick Ngakoue made Fowler expendable in Jacksonville. The team opted last year to not pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. Fowler was the third overall selection in 2015.
Fowler has two sacks in seven games this season while playing limited snaps behind Ngakoue. Fowler was suspended for the regular-season opener because of an arrest in 2017.
Fowler and Ngakoue also were involved in a post-practice fight in training camp, which resulted in Fowler and cornerback Jalen Ramsey getting suspended from the team for a week.
He has been a model citizen since. The Rams (8-0) are more concerned with his pass-rushing skills in the second half of the season.
Rishard Matthews didn't like his diminished role in Tennessee's new offense, so the wide receiver gambled on himself.
He asked to be traded or released — and the Titans cut him. Matthews then waited for a team to sign him.
It took four weeks to find another job. Now he's a member of the New York Jets , eager to help his new squad in any way he can.
"I fully understand the position I'm in," Matthews said. "I put myself in this position. I expressed that as well. I played special teams to make it in this league. I don't mind doing that, I don't mind taking reps off the guys throughout the week so they could be fresh for the game. Whatever I've got to do to get their trust and contribute, I'm all for it."
Matthews signed a one-year contract extension with the Titans in August after leading them with 1,740 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns combined over the past two seasons.
An undisclosed injury caused him to miss offseason workouts, minicamp and the Titans' first three preseason games. He was activated from the physically unable to perform list before the regular season, but never found a consistent role in new coordinator Matt LaFleur's offense. He had just three catches for 11 yards in three games before Tennessee released him when it couldn't deal him.
"That's just a situation that's in my past now," Matthews said. "It is what it is. That situation happened and I wish nothing but the best for those guys."
Matthews had workouts with the Jets, Browns and Cardinals in the weeks after he was released, but wasn't immediately signed. He said in an interview that he thought he probably wouldn't be signed by anyone this season.
"I wouldn't say surprised," Matthews said of joining the Jets. "I guess I was just letting my feelings out at that given moment. Yeah, that was last week and I'm happy to be here and I'm just trying to learn as much as I can so I can contribute right away."
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