4 free agents the Baltimore Ravens should not bring back
3. De’Anthony Thomas:
The Ravens got very little from the punt returner in the 2019 season. They let go of Cyrus Jones after a dumb fumble and De’Anthony Thomas was a placeholder for the rest of the season. The best return Thomas had was 20 yards and most of his returns weren’t that memorable. Thomas got the Ravens 166 punt return yards. The NFL’s leader in punt return yards got his team over 800 yards. The middle of the pack punt returner got his team nearly 300 yards. Those yards make a big difference.
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Statistics aren’t friendly to Thomas’s case to keep his job with the Ravens. While it’s fair to point out that Thomas spent almost half of the season with the Kansas City Chiefs, there is a reason he didn’t spend the full year in Kansas City. Thomas had 13 returns for 55 yards and two fumbles this season for the Chiefs. He may be fast yet he leaves a lot to be desired as a return specialist. Being better than Cyrus Jones isn’t a high bar and just meeting that standard isn’t quite enough.
The Ravens have to be able to find a player more suited to punt return. They need to find a great decision maker that doesn’t lose them yards or possessions. They need to find a great athlete with the vision to carve out sneaky yards in the return game. Expect the Ravens to spend a day three draft pick on a return specialist. Thomas won’t make that much, yet finding the right rookie would be cheaper. If that doesn’t work, put Justice Hill back there.