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Bills sign WR Deonte Thompson

The Buffalo Bills bolstered their receiving depth by signing Deonte Thompson on Tuesday.

Thompson is no stranger to the Bills organization, spending time on the team’s practice squad in 2014, and even suiting up in Buffalo’s final game of that season.

The 28-year-old most recently played for the Chicago Bears, where he was a surprise cut last Wednesday. Chicago’s receiving group has also been decimated by injuries over the past two seasons, leading to an increased workload for Thompson. He has played in 28 games since 2015, notching nine starts in the process.

Before his tenure with the Bills in 2014, Thompson spent parts of three seasons in Baltimore, where he worked extensively with both Tyrod Taylor and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. He caught 10 passes for 150 yards during his time with the Ravens.

His best season came last year, when he caught 22 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He was off to a decent start to his 2017 campaign, targeted 18 times for 125 yards in four games. He last played in Week 4 against Green Bay, corralling five passes for 44 yards.

While Thompson’s stats won’t scare opposing defenses, he gives the Bills a much-needed deep threat, as well as another option in the return game. As a kickoff returner, he has posted 60 returns for an average of 24 yards. He’ll be battling with Kaelin Clay and Brandon Tate for playing time in that role with the Bills. On the offensive side of the ball, Thompson averages 12 yards per catch in his career, and has had 10 catches go for at least 20 yards. Tyrod Taylor is ranked 40th among NFL quarterbacks in passes thrown short of the sticks.

To make room for Thompson, the Bills released running back Joe Banyard. Banyard had several solid performances in the preseason to make the 53-man roster, but didn’t log a single carry in the regular season.

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Anthony has covered the Buffalo Bills since 2016, first as a contributor for Buffalobills.com and now for Cover 1. Anthony is a Western New York native and a recent graduate of St. Bonaventure University. In addition to time spent on the Bills beat, he was the lead play-by-play announcer for St. Bonaventure’s Division I sports teams and was a disc jockey for four years at 88.3, The Buzz.

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