Thompkins was an undrafted free-agent signee in 2013. He caught 32 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns last season.
It's a precipitous fall for Thompkins who started Week 1. Tom Brady has said Thompkins was one of his most trusted receivers.
NFL Media's Albert Breer reported that Thompkins was told they could bring him back next week if he clears waivers, per a source briefed on the circumstances. Breer also reported Thompkins' release was a result of the numbers game on the roster.
The Patriots receivers group has been a huge question mark throughout the first quarter of the season. The lack of a playmaker or field-stretching weapon has been one cause of Brady's struggles.