The Ravens re-signed wide receiver and return specialist De’Anthony Thomas to a one-year deal to presumably compete for a spot in what they hope will be an improved return game for the 2020 season.
Signed to the 53-man roster in early November, the former Kansas City Chief appeared in eight regular-season games, averaging 7.2 yards per punt return and 16.6 yards per kick return. The Ravens envisioned Thomas being an upgrade to previous punt returner Cyrus Jones and kick returner Justice Hill, but he posted worse averages as Baltimore would finish 30th in the NFL in team kick return average and eighth in team punt return average. The 27-year-old drew criticism in the playoff loss to Tennessee for an unnecessary roughness penalty that pushed the Ravens back to their own 5-yard line late in the first half, a foul that preceded a 91-yard drive resulting in only a field goal.
Thomas played only three offensive snaps for the Ravens last season, carrying the ball one time in the regular-season finale against Pittsburgh. In six seasons with the Chiefs, the 5-foot-8, 176-pound receiver caught 65 passes for 509 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.
Despite their overall success on special teams in the John Harbaugh era, the Ravens have struggled to find explosiveness in the return game since the days of Jacoby Jones, featuring a revolving door of return men over the last five seasons.