FOXBORO — Demaryius Thomas was the odd man out in a crowded New England Patriots receiver room.
The Patriots traded Thomas to the New York Jets for a 2021 sixth-round pick on Tuesday, according to ESPN. It is the first trade between the two AFC East foes since 2000, when the Patriots acquired Bill Belichick for three draft picks.
With the recent addition of Antonio Brown, the Patriots now have six receivers, including Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski on the roster, along with special-teamer Matthew Slater, and N’Keal Harry on injured reserve. It’s among the deepest groups in the league.
The 31-year-old Thomas was inactive during the Patriots’ 33-3 Week One win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. The lone time Thomas played at Gillette Stadium was during Week Four of the preseason. He went for seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns against the New York Giants.
Thomas signed with the Patriots as a free agent in April and spent the bulk of the offseason and training camp recovering from the torn Achilles he suffered during Week 16 as a member of the Houston Texans. Thomas was released on the final day of the cutdown period and re-signed with the team on Sept. 2.
The trade also means that Belichick has now made a deal with every NFL team since taking over at the helm in New England.
Bielema impressed by Week One signs
Defensive line coach Bret Bielema was as excited as anyone to watch the Patriots’ front against the Steelers on Sunday. The Patriots allowed the Steelers just 308 total yards, with merely 32 yards rushing and a 2.5 yards-per-rush average.
“It’s been a fun group to work with,” Bielema said during a conference call on Tuesday. “You know, they really do buy into the philosophy that they just come into work every day, do what they’re supposed to do.
“You’ve got a guy in Michael Bennett who’s been in the league for a long time, to a newcomer that came to our team and has bought into it, so he’s a veteran but he’s also new to the New England system. And he’s alongside Lawrence Guy for most of the game. Him and (Guy) were paired out there together on early downs, and then a little bit into third down as well at the end of the game. So I thought it brought a lot of versatility to our group,” Bielema added. “Then you had Adam Butler in there, as well. Danny Shelton came in and did some really good things. It’s a group that even though they play specific roles, they’re able to do different things within different groupings and hopefully continue to do good things overall.”
RT Cannon expected to miss time
The Patriots’ starting right tackle, Marcus Cannon, who suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter against the Steelers on Sunday, is not expected to miss significant time, as the injury is not season-ending or long-term in nature, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
Following the injury to Cannon on Sunday, the Patriots moved guard Joe Thuney to right tackle and brought in Jermaine Eluemunor off the bench to play left guard. Backup tackle Korey Cunningham was inactive on Sunday, but he could be another option to play the right side if Cannon is unable to go.