Demaryius Thomas Retirement Sparks Odd Jets Memory

Demaryius Thomas

Getty Former New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas runs after a catch on November 17, 2019.

Although he’s best remembered for his eight and a half years as a Denver Broncos star, Demaryius Thomas did finish his career with the New York Jets.

The four-time Pro Bowler and one-time Super Bowl champion called it quits on June 28, 2021, and his retirement sparked an odd Jets memory.

Thomas joined the Jets ahead of the 2019 season in what is considered a rarity, a trade between Gang Green and their bitter rivals, the New England Patriots.

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Trade History Between NYJ & New England

Joe Douglas ended up sending a sixth-round pick to New England for Thomas, marking the first Jets-Pats trade since the infamous Bill Belichick deal that sent the head coach to Boston for three draft picks in the year 2000.

That moment has come back to haunt this franchise over the years, but the Thomas agreement actually foretold the end of an era. Belichick admitted that as much as anybody.

“There was a certain period of time when there’s no way this transaction would have happened,” the Patriots head coach told reporters at the time, “we don’t want to help the Jets, they don’t want to help us… 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.”

That resentment between the two franchises existed for a long time and still does between fans and players, but it has no place in Douglas’ office. The Jets’ current GM is going to do whatever it takes to better his team utilizing whichever options he has at his disposal.

Thomas knew Adam Gase’s system and the Jets needed a wide receiver, so Douglas went out and made the call, no matter how unlucky it seemed.

This may seem unimportant to some, but the ripple effects have been huge.

Douglas is a professional and he runs this organization like one. That mentality reflects positively in everything he does and it even led to yet another rarity.

During the 2020 NFL draft, he decided to make a second trade with New England, and this pick swap has worked out swimmingly for the Jets so far.

The Pats selected tight end Dalton Keene with pick number 101, a relative bust so far. The Jets 2020 picks from that deal have not worked out so well either — James Morgan and Cameron Clark — but the 2021 pick turned into Hamsah Nasirildeen.

So long as Keene continues his pedestrian play, this was a winner for Douglas, and the Thomas move extended the olive branch that allowed this later agreement to occur.

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Honoring Demaryius

The former 2010 Broncos first-round pick lived up to the billing. With Denver, the wide-out had five straight seasons with 1,000 receiving yards or higher (1,619 in 2014).

Of course, his one season with the Jets wasn’t as successful as his many with the Broncos, but it was much later in his career. He was also working his way back from a torn Achilles injury the season before.

In 11 games wearing green and white, Thomas totaled 433 yards on 36 receptions with a trusty 22 first downs and a lone touchdown.

The Jets won seven games in 2019 and there’s no question that Thomas helped with that. He also embraced the Jets fanbase after his short and rocky stay in New England.

For a veteran entering his 10th season in the league, it’s hard to ask for more than that.

It also shows how far the Jets wide receiving core has come since then. Take a look.

2019 2021
Robby Anderson Corey Davis
Demaryius Thomas Elijah Moore
Jamison Crowder Jamison Crowder
Quincy Enunwa (IR) Denzel Mims
Vyncint Smith Keelan Cole
Braxton Berrios/Josh Bellamy (IR) Braxton Berrios/Vyncint Smith

Enjoy your retirement, Demaryius, and thank you from Heavy on Jets!

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