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New York Jets acquire much-needed receiver help in Demaryius Thomas

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 29: Demaryius Thomas #88 of the New England Patriots celebrates after scoring a touchdwon during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 29: Demaryius Thomas #88 of the New England Patriots celebrates after scoring a touchdwon during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets made a prudent but shocking trade this week, acquiring wide receiver Demaryius Thomas from the New England Patriots for a 2021 sixth-round pick.

The NFL is never short of interesting storylines and neither are the New York Jets. However, the league seems to be in rare form this year.

There are so many breaking news stories, each one racing through our social media feeds and sports networks only to be quickly replaced by another. Sometimes, these various headlines even connect to each other in the strangest of ways.

Consider, for example, the seemingly never-ending Antonio Brown saga. Brown has managed to go from the Steelers to the Raiders to the Patriots in the span of months. It is unknown if any team can handle Brown’s drama, and at this point, sports fans are sick of hearing about it.

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The Patriots adding a superstar player is a nightmare for Jets fans. But there was an unexpected silver lining from it.

News broke this week that the Patriots traded Demaryius Thomas to the Jets for a 2021 sixth-round pick.

More Antonio Brown fallout: Patriots are trading WR Demaryius Thomas in the division to the NY Jets for a 2021 sixth-round pick, sources tell ESPN.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 10, 2019

There are many elements to consider with this trade.

At first glance, it is frustrating for Jets fans to see the Patriots both upgrade at wide receiver (from Thomas to Brown) and gain a draft pick in the process. If the Patriots can manage Brown’s personality, they came away with an absolute coup.

But even in the NFL, not everything is a zero-sum game. Just because the Patriots won the Demaryius Thomas trade doesn’t mean the Jets necessarily lost it. Let’s look at this trade from the Jets perspective.

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Thomas is a four-time Pro Bowler who has posted five seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards. Though he is aging (31) and clearly on the decline, he still should have something to offer the Jets.

Playing for the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, Thomas combined for 677 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns last year. If he can even match that level of greatly reduced production, he will be well worth a late draft pick.

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Given his eye-catching play in the preseason (seven catches, 87 yards, two touchdowns in the Patriots final preseason game), Thomas may even be due for a resurgence.

If nothing else, the Jets are smart to continue to give quarterback Sam Darnold the support he needs to develop.

Between returning players Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Chris Herndon and newly added weapons Le’Veon Bell and Demaryius Thomas, Darnold is surrounded by talented offensive skill players.

If Darnold is going to be a franchise quarterback and the savior Jets fans have spent decades searching for, now is the time to prove it.

Bill Belichick has now made at least one trade with every team in the NFL. The NYJ were the only ones with whom he hadn't dealt since taking over as #Patriots HC in 2000. https://t.co/gFc82EqBHW

— Erik Scalavino (@E_Scal) September 10, 2019

Finally, no one can complain about the price tag.

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Despite the fact that the Jets and Patriots are bitter rivals who almost never trade with each other, a deferred sixth-round pick for a pretty good veteran receiver feels like fair value. Unless Thomas is secretly nursing a nasty injury, perhaps the Patriots actually gave the Jets a good deal.

While it would have been ideal to wait for the Patriots to hopefully release Thomas, there is no guarantee Thomas would have signed with the Jets even if he became a free agent. By making this deal, the Jets get their guy and the Patriots essentially get something for nothing.

Amidst a swirl of countless bizarre stories in the NFL, perhaps the Thomas trade is the oddest one. It is proof that win-win deals can happen even between the most hated of rivals.

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And while Jets fans were sickened to see Brown go to the Patriots, at least they can take solace knowing it provided them with an opportunity to improve their own team.

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