By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Demaryius Thomas expressed a lot of dissatisfaction with the way Bill Belichick handled his departure from the Patriots. Predictably, Belichick didn't exactly fire back.
When asked during his Thursday press conference if he has any regrets about trading Thomas to the Jets three days after acquiring the now-released Antonio Brown, Belichick took the high road and gave a sliver of detail on his decision.
"Look, Demaryius is a great kid, I have a ton of respect for him, he’s very professional and did everything we asked him to do," said Belichick. "Our circumstances changed a couple times in that period leading up to when he was traded. I felt like I was always truthful with him, but things changed and therefore, what I said was not the same as what I’d said previously. It is what it is."
The change in circumstances, obviously, was the signing of Brown to a one-year deal worth $10 million guaranteed. Just 11 days later, the Patriots cut Brown amid numerous fresh off-field issues and distractions. It sounds like Belichick promised Thomas a roster spot when he cut him on Aug. 31, with the intention of re-signing him after moving rookie N'Keal Harry to injured reserve. Brown becoming available changed everything.
Thomas told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that he he found it "insulting" and "disrespectful" of the Patriots to trade him, presumably less than two weeks after telling him his roster spot was secure. Thomas said Belichick told him they no longer had room for him on the roster after signing Brown.
"Coach [Belichick] came up to me and was like, 'Uh, we got too many guys. We can’t get the ball around enough and we’re going to trade you to the Jets,'" said Thomas. "And that was that. ... Ain’t no reason to yell. They’ve won championships without me. I was only trying to be a part of something that was going to be good when I was there ... They’re doing a hell of a job."
Thomas seems happy enough to be with the Jets now. He's been active for three games and caught all four of his targets for 62 yards last Sunday, in his first game with quarterback Sam Darnold.
But the veteran receiver clearly isn't happy with how Belichick handled his situation at the end. He could have just said that last part, but he threw the words "insulting" and "disrespectful" out there. The four-time Pro-Bowler learned the hard way that when you're 32 years old and coming off an Achilles injury, you become more expendable.
After bringing Brown aboard, Belichick decided to keep undrafted rookies Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski over Thomas and that probably didn't feel great for the 32-year-old. Such is the life of a veteran coming off a major injury.
Perhaps the Patriots could use Thomas after getting banged up at receiver, but that doesn't matter now. After ending up with neither Brown, Belichick has little choice but to further develop the rookie receivers and hope the in-house veterans get healthy and stay that way.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].