THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Rams are expected to carry seven wide receivers by the end of this week.
Mike Thomas, suspended for the first four regular-season games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, will be added to the roster, coach Sean McVay said. But the Rams also will keep their six other receivers: Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tavon Austin, Pharoh Cooper and Josh Reynolds.
The only NFL team with as many as seven wide receivers on its active roster is the Cincinnati Bengals.
Thomas, listed at 6 foot 1 and 195 pounds, is a vertical threat who also can be a factor on special teams. His role, however, will be limited. Cooper will continue to return kickoffs, and the likes of Watkins, Woods and Kupp -- not to mention Todd Gurley -- will continue to soak up the targets. Going with seven receivers seems like a move made mostly to preserve depth because Austin has carved out a role in the backfield and any one of the Rams' young receivers probably would get claimed off waivers.
Thomas was a sixth-round pick in last year's draft who hardly played early in the 2016 season and made a couple of notable mistakes down the stretch, fumbling the opening kickoff against the Atlanta Falcons and dropping an easy long catch against the Seattle Seahawks. But Thomas impressed the new coaching staff during the offseason program and in training camp, even though he was limited in both by minor injuries.
The Rams probably will wait until late in the week to make a corresponding move to fit Thomas onto their 53-man roster.
"Mike's got a lot of value," McVay said. "He's got some speed. I think he's continued to improve the nuances of playing the position. Then he's also a big asset to [John Fassel] and the special teams. How that affects the 46 on game day is something that we're going to monitor as the week progresses. But Mike's a guy that we're glad to get back."