By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Add Demaryius Thomas to the list of disgruntled former Patriots.
The veteran receiver, now with the Jets after the Patriots traded him in September, spoke candidly about his final days with the Patriots to the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta. Apparently, the 32-year-old is harboring plenty of resentment for the way Bill Belichick decided to trade him after committing to him for the start of the 2019 season.
“It was insulting, for sure,” Thomas said. “Once I got cut, I could have just come here [to the Jets] and not stayed there and re-sign. When they re-signed me, I was thinking that I was good. Two weeks later, I was gone. So, it’s like, ‘Why did I waste my time?’ Because at the end of the day, it was kind of a waste of time for me.”
Thomas confirmed what the Patriots’ moves indicated: they released Thomas so they could name rookie N’Keal Harry to the 53-man roster then place him on injured reserve and allow for the possibility to designate him for a return. The pieces are falling into place with Harry, who returned to practice on Tuesday.
In Thomas’ case, it’s a lot more messy. The shiny toy of Antonio Brown became available just before the season opener on Sept. 7, so Belichick swooped in and signed him. That made Thomas, whom they quickly re-signed, expendable at the time. So the head coach then made the rare trade with the Jets when he sent Thomas out on Sept. 10. Perhaps it was extra-insulting to Thomas that Belichick was comfortable enough to trade him in the AFC East to a team that the head coach has his own … feelings about from his own experience.
The Patriots kept two other rookies, Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers, over Thomas. He didn’t seem to like that, either.
“So, I felt like I was cool. But even having conversations with him and couple other people, it was like, ‘You’re going to be okay,’” Thomas said. “Two weeks later, AB gets cut … and then they kicked me [to the curb] and shipped me out like I’m just a rookie.”
To that, I’d say welcome to being a veteran on the wrong side of 30 coming off a torn Achilles. Thomas’ days of long-term security with any team are over.
But in retrospect, you’d think the Patriots could at least use the depth and experience that Thomas would provide. Josh Gordon wasn’t present at Tuesday’s practice and could be in danger of missing time with a knee injury. Julian Edelman continues to play through a chest issue. Phillip Dorsett had to miss last Thursday’s game with a hamstring injury.
Ultimately, keeping Meyers and Olszewski over Thomas will probably turn out to be the right move in a vacuum. Thomas has been active for only three of the Jets’ six games so far. But it’s unfortunate that they ostensibly moved on from Thomas in order to make room for Brown, and now they have neither.
Thomas has entered the Reggie Wayne tier of veterans who felt less than satisfied with their time in New England. It’s unlikely he’ll be enough of a factor to make the Pats pay for letting him go when the teams play each other next Monday night, though.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.