Since taking over as head coach of the Patriots in 2000, Bill Belichick had executed at least one trade with every team in the NFL, save one: the New York Jets.
That changed Tuesday afternoon, when, according to ESPN, he shipped veteran WR Demaryius Thomas to Gang Green for a 2021 draft choice.
Thomas was inactive in the regular season opener versus Pittsburgh due to a hamstring injury that limited him in practices last week. His only prior on-field action for New England came in the preseason finale against the New York Giants, when Thomas – coming off an Achilles heel injury last December with the Houston Texans – scored two touchdowns.
With the arrival this week of Antonio Brown, Thomas found himself part of an increasingly crowded wide receiver room here at Gillette Stadium. It’s not altogether surprising that the team elected to pare down the roster, but somewhat curious that they chose to send Thomas within the division. Perhaps New England felt that, given his recent injury situations, the risk of shipping him to an AFC East rival was worth taking.
The Patriots now have veterans Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon, and the aforementioned newcomer, Brown, along with a pair of rookies – Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski – on the wide receiver roster. Matthew Slater is listed as a wide receiver, but the perennial co-captain is primarily a special teams contributor.