Bill Belichick had never traded with the New York Jets since arriving as head coach of the New England Patriots.
That changed Tuesday evening.
The Patriots are sending wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Jets exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported.
New England’s active depth chart of wideouts stood at eight following the official signing of seven-time Pro Bowler Antonio Brown on Monday. It’s now down to seven as Thomas’ tenure ends after one preseason appearance that netted a team-high seven receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
Thomas, who began the summer on physically unable to perform after suffering a torn Achilles while with the Houston Texans in December, had been released at the 53-man roster deadline. The 31-year-old re-signed with New England two days later, but was among the inactives for Week 1 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers after a hamstring injury left him questionable.
Thomas will now reunite with Jets head coach Adam Gase, who served as both receivers coach and offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos during his 9,055-yard, 60-touchdown stay.
The Patriots will go forward with Brown, Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski and core specialist Matthew Slater at the position.
First-round pick N’Keal Harry and Cameron Meredith provide potential midseason insurance while currently on New England’s injured reserve and PUP list, respectively.