Coming off a seven-catch, two touchdown performance in his Patriots debut Thursday night, it might seem more than a little strange for the Patriots to release veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Don’t worry, Bill Belichick hasn’t lost his mind. The move is likely temporary. Given Thomas doesn’t have to clear waivers, the Pats can bring him back, and that’s the expected scenario going forward.
In need of a roster spot, cutting Thomas for the time being allowed some much-needed roster flexibility on cutdown day.
It’s possible the Patriots wanted to get another player on the roster initially before putting him on the returnable IR. Once that happens, Thomas can be re-signed.
The other move that might have factored into the Thomas decision was the change of heart on wideout Gunner Olszewski, who was initially told he was waived before being called back and put on the 53-man roster.
Whatever the motivation for the surprising cut, Thomas is expected to return, perhaps as soon as Monday.
The veteran receiver, who had torn his Achilles in December, was activated off the physically unable to perform list on Aug. 20. Officially, he had seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Giants, which was his first game since the injury.
Rookie N’Keal Harry has been hobbled with an injury since his two-catch performance against Detroit in the preseason opener. If he’s still not healthy, more reason for Thomas to return.