Thomas is now a starting wide receiver for the Jets after being acquired by New York from the Patriots in a rare trade between the AFC East rivals. He told the New York Daily News that he was insulted to be jettisoned by New England when they needed a roster spot to sign Antonio Brown, who released by the Patriots less than two weeks later.
The Jets (1-4) host the Patriots (6-0) this week on Monday Night Football (ESPN, 8:15 p.m. ET).
The Patriots had released Thomas in their final cuts before the season only to re-sign him three days later. Eight days after that he was traded.
“It was insulting, for sure,” Thomas told the newspaper. “Once I got cut, I could have just come here (to the Jets) and not stayed there and re-sign. When they re-signed me, I was thinking that I was good. Two weeks later, I was gone. So, it’s like, ‘Why did I waste my time?’ Because at the end of the day, it was kind of a waste of time for me.”
Thomas was drafted by current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in the first round of the 2010 draft when he was the Denver Broncos‘ head coach. Thomas also had a previous connection with Jets head coach Adam Gase, who was the Broncos’ offensive coordinator while the wide receiver was in Denver. He said he thought his connection with McDaniels would help him stick with the Patriots. Instead, once Brown became available after he was released by the Oakland Raiders, “they kicked me (to the curb) and shipped me out like I’m just a rookie,” he told the newspaper.
The 31-year-old Thomas, a four-time Pro Bowl selection in his NFL career, told the Daily News that he appreciates that the Patriots allowed him to recover from a torn Achilles he suffered last December with the Houston Texans and said New England is “doing a hell of a job” this season. But New England’s roster maneuvering involving him still bothers him.
“It was disrespectful to me,” he told the newspaper. “Like, you know, you could trust me and I could trust you. You told me when you cut me at the (final) cut, sit around you’ll bring me back. And I stayed. I could have easily become a Jet once I got cut … I could have been here the next day after I got released. But I chose to stay.”
Thomas, who has battled a hamstring injury this season, is healthy now and had four receptions for 62 yards in the Jets’ 24-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday with Sam Darnold back at quarterback.