The Jets and Patriots made a stunning, rare trade on Tuesday.
Adam Gase will reunite with Demaryius Thomas after the Jets acquired the former Pro Bowl receiver from New England for a 2021 sixth-round pick, a league source confirmed.
This is the first time the teams made a deal together since Bill Belichick left the Jets in 2000 to become New England’s coach. The Patriots sent first-, fourth- and fifth-round picks to the Jets for Belichick.
The move comes one day after Gase was critical of the Jets receivers following their season-opening 17-16 loss to the Bills. Thomas had his best seasons in Denver when Gase was the offensive coordinator.
But the Patriots moving Thomas to their AFC East rival on the same day they officially signed Antonio Brown certainly raises some questions to how healthy the 31-year-old Thomas is or how much he has left.
Thomas tore his Achilles in Week 16 last year as a member of the Houston Texans. Thomas spent much of training camp with New England on the PUP list, but he played in the Patriots’ preseason finale and caught seven passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. But he was limited in practice last week and inactive for the Patriots’ victory over the Steelers Sunday night.
If healthy, Thomas adds depth to the Jets’ wide receiver unit. The Jets’ top three receivers are Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa. Crowder had a big game against Buffalo with 14 catches for 99 yards. But Anderson and Enunwa totaled four catches for 19 yards. Gase criticized the receivers’ effort and route running on Monday.
Thomas spent parts of nine seasons with the Broncos. Gase was there for five of them, first as a wide receivers coach and the last two as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator. Thomas made the Pro Bowl three times in that span, and put up huge numbers the two years Gase ran the offense. Thomas caught 203 passes for 3,049 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2013 and 2014.
Overall, Thomas, who won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2015, has totaled 688 catches for 9,330 yards and 62 touchdowns. Thomas was traded to the Texans last October and played seven games for Houston before tearing his Achilles. Thomas had 59 catches for 677 yards and five touchdowns last year. The Patriots signed Thomas in April.
The Jets play at New England on Sept. 22.