New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said on Wednesday that he feels the New England Patriots were "disrespectful" in their treatment of him during his brief stint with the reigning champions.
Thomas signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in April. He was part of the team's final roster cuts in August, but after receiving assurances his place in New England was cemented, the veteran re-signed several days later.
However, after Antonio Brown became a free agent, New England traded Thomas to the Jets for a 2021 sixth-round pick to make room for the former Oakland Raiders wideout.
"It was insulting, for sure," Thomas told the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta on Wednesday. "Once I got cut (on August 31), 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."
The risk ultimately didn't pay off for the Patriots, with the team forced to release Brown after one game following accusations of sexual assault and a federal lawsuit.
Thomas, who spent the offseason recovering from a torn Achilles, said he appreciates New England taking a chance on him. However, he believes the Patriots weren't candid about his job security.
"Coach (Bill Belichick) came up to me and was like, 'Uh, we got too many guys. We can't get the ball around enough and we're going to trade you to the Jets,'" Thomas said. "And that was that…. Ain't no reason to yell. They've won championships without me. I was only trying to be a part of something that was going to be good when I was there… They're doing a hell of a job."
Belichick praised Thomas when asked about his former receiver's comments on Thursday, but added that he was honest with him.
"Look, Demaryius is a great kid. I have a ton of respect for him," said Belichick, according to James Palmer of NFL Network. "He's very professional, and he did everything we asked him to do. Our circumstances changed a couple of times in that period leading up to when he was traded.
"I felt like I was always truthful with him, but things changed and therefore, what I said was not the same as what I had said previously. So it is what is it."
Thomas looked close to full health in his only preseason game with the Patriots, catching seven passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
With Sam Darnold back under center during a Week 6 win over the Dallas Cowboys, the 31-year-old snagged all four of his targets for 62 yards.
Thomas will get his chance to prove New England was wrong to move on from him in a Monday night matchup between the two AFC East teams.