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Cardinals Add Mike Thomas

Veteran slot receiver joins team on one-year deal to battle for roster spot


Wide receiver Mike Thomas (7) battles safety Tyrann Mathieu in practice Tuesday after signing with the Cards.

Mike Thomas wasn't on the market long.

The veteran wide receiver was cut Monday by the Detroit Lions, and by Tuesday, he "caught the first thing smoking this morning" and got to Arizona in time to sign a one-year contract and make it on to the field for a good chunk of that afternoon's practice.

Thomas had a "few" options where to sign but coming to the Cardinals "just felt like it'd be the best fit for me and my skill set," Thomas said. "Obviously I was wanted a little bit. It just worked out I could be here."

The Cardinals have been searching for a fourth wide receiver throughout the offseason and into training camp. Thomas is the first candidate with significant NFL experience.

Thomas had been acquired in a trade by Detroit from Jacksonville last season, but he caught just five passes in nine games with the

Lions. From 2009 to 2011, however, Thomas had 158 catches for the Jaguars, for 1,688 yards and six touchdowns as a slot receiver.

It's been a precipitous drop. There was a coaching change in Jacksonville after the 2011 season from jack Del Rio to Mike Mularkey, a change that mean Thomas' future wasn't going to remain there. He never quite worked in Detroit.

"Nothing went wrong," Thomas said about his Lions' stint. "I just think when I got there last year they had a lot of guys who were injured and now they have guys that are healthy. It wasn't just working out in the numbers game or me being a fit for what they wanted to do in Detroit. So here I am."

The 5-foot-8 Thomas played collegiately at the University of Arizona. He most famously is known for catching David Garrard's Hail Mary touchdown against the Texans in 2011.

Coach Bruce Arians has been non-committal toward any of the existing fourth-receiver possibilities up until this point. He has praised many of them at different times – Kerry Taylor, Jaron Brown, Charles Hawkins primarily – but it's a position the Cardinals have been watching on the waiver and free-agent market.

It's also worth noting that the young receivers the Cardinals are considering, not just Taylor, Brown and Hawkins but also the speedy Robert Gill, are all eligible for the practice squad.

The Cardinals are set at the top three receiver positions with Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts. Arians also has big plans for tight end Rob Housler. They also have the option of using cornerback Patrick Peterson on offense.

Thomas said he didn't yet know what his role would be with the Cardinals, although he would like to resuscitate a career that's taken some hits of late.

"(The last year) has more than been tough, but a lot of great athletes go through ups and downs in their career," Thomas said. "I think it's all about what you do with it. Learn from your mistakes."

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