The New England Patriots hadn't made a trade with the New York Jets during Bill Belichick's 20-year tenure in Foxboro until the defending champs dealt veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Big Apple after their Week 1 win.
Thomas was signed by the Patriots in May, but after the addition of elite wide receiver Antonio Brown last week, they moved on from Thomas and sent him to the Jets for a 2021 sixth-round pick.
Jets head coach Adam Gase was asked about the trade during his media conference call Wednesday, and he explained what New York was looking for when it made the call to the Patriots.
"I think when (Jets general manager) Joe Douglas came to me, and when (Antonio Brown) got there, we were kind of in a situation where if we could find somebody that had knowledge of the system, that could help us, that was somebody that fit what we were looking for, which obviously Demaryius does," Gase said. "We were trying to figure out, 'How could we go about this?' I think to Joe's credit, he was like, 'I'm just going to call him and the worst they could say is no.' And when they said, "Let's talk," then those guys worked it out."
Trading with a division rival is difficult, but Belichick isn't afraid to make that kind of move if he feels it will help his team.
"We don't want to help the Jets, and they don't want to help us," Belichick said Tuesday. "We're in the same division, so they're not the easiest trades to make. ... But in the end, if it helps us in the other 14 games and helps our team, then it's something that's worth considering. We'll try to help our team in any way we can."
Belichick also added: "When you look at the beginning of each year, inter-division trading is probably not something that you think is going to be at the top of the list," Belichick added. "But we traded with Buffalo this year, too (acquiring center Russell Bodine from the Bills), so we made two inter-division trades within a week. You never know."
Thomas made his Jets debut during Monday night's loss to the Cleveland Browns. He made one catch for minus-1 yard on two targets.
The 31-year-old wide receiver didn't participate in Wednesday's practice due to a hamstring/knee injury, so it's uncertain if he'll play against the Patriots on Sunday.
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