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Demaryius Thomas reunites with Adam Gase as Jets ship draft pick to Patriots for veteran WR

2019-09-10

Adam Gase is looking for some help from an old friend.

The Jets and Patriots made a minor trade for 31-year-old wide receiver Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday, according to a source. Gang Green will fork over a 2021 sixth-round pick for the veteran pass catcher, who became expendable after New England signed perennial Pro Bowler Antonio Brown.

Thomas, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal with Bill Belichick’s team after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury with the Texans in December, was inactive for the Patriots’ season-opening rout over the Steelers. He had 7 receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants backups in New England’s preseason finale.

Gase, who was critical of the Jets receivers’ performances in a season-opening loss, will be reunited with a player who was terrific for him in Denver. Gase was Thomas’ first position coach in Denver before being the offensive playcaller for two of Thomas’ most productive seasons (2013 and 2014). He had 203 receptions for 3,049 yards and 25 touchdowns in Gase’s two years as the Broncos’ coordinator.

Of course, that was an eternity ago. The 6-2, 225-pound Thomas combined for 59 receptions for 677 yards and five touchdowns with the Broncos and Texans last season. He’ll turn 32 in December.

His familiarity with Gase’s offense can’t hurt, but it’s unclear whether he’ll ultimately take meaningful snaps away from Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder. At worst, he will provide quality depth at the position. Thomas will count $2.7 million against the 2019 cap, which is a relatively big number given that Thomas might have a nominal role.

The transaction marks the first Jets-Patriots trade since Gang Green sent Belichick to Foxboro in 2000 for a first-round pick. It’s clear that Belichick isn’t overly concerned that Thomas will hurt his team’s chances of continuing to rule the AFC East.