Just over a week ago we compiled a list of players that the Jets might have in their crosshairs to upgrade their 53-man roster. One free agent on that list (at that time) was wide receiver Demaryus Thomas, whom the Jets dealt for yesterday as Joe Douglas sent a 2021 6th round pick to Bill Belichick and the Patriots to acquire the veteran receiver.
Reaction to the deal from fans has ranged from curiosity as to why the Jets would give up a draft pick for an older receiver with little left in the tank, to some level of optimism given the need for depth at the position and Thomas’ familiarity with head coach Adam Gase from their days together in Denver.
Thomas, a once prolific receiver adds a true professional the huddle who has a better understanding of the nuances of the game than any other pass catcher on the roster, but will that be enough to allow him to be productive? He spent most of the preseason as a spectator, and when he finally got on the field he was productive, but was playing against third and fourth-stringers. Is Thomas’ ability to separate still there, or will the Jets rely on Sam Darnold to make pinpoint throws and allow the Savvy Thomas to use his smarts to beat opposing defenders?
Another lingering question is why in the world would Bill Belichick do business with the Jets? This is the same team that exposed his for his spygate antics many years ago, and a team he hadn’t struck a single trade with in all of his years with the Patriots. This isn’t about whether or not the Jets are a threat to the Patriots (Spoiler alert, they’re not), but why would Belichick help the Jets in any way at all? Unless of course Thomas was available via trade and nobody else showed any interest so Belichick took what he could get?
Additionally, whose reps will Thomas take? He’s clearly not going to displace Robby Anderson as the deep threat, and while healthy, Quincy Enunwa has more to offer in terms of explosiveness and physicality, assuming he’s truly recovered from his previous injury. The slot is obviously a spot where Jamison Crowder will be getting all of the reps, but what about tight end?
Thomas wouldn’t be an in-line tight end, but could there be some use as a slot receiver in four and five receiver sets? What about some reps as an H-back? Entirely possible with Chris Herndon unavailable for the next several weeks. It’s also worth noting is that Quincy Enunwa has done some of his best work as an H-back and out of the slot and could be shifted back inside if Adam Gase decides he wants to keep Thomas where he’s most comfortable, which is on the boundary.
All good questions, and we’ll have to give it some time to see just what the plan is, but it shouldn’t be long before each one is met with an answer.