Washington has officially added veteran running back Pierre Thomas to its roster, the team announced today in a press release. The club has placed defensive tackle Stephen Paea on the injured reserve list in order to create space on the 53-man squad to sign Thomas.
Thomas, who turns 31 next Friday, spent the first eight seasons of his NFL career with the Saints, but saw his 2014 campaign derailed by injuries and by an increasing workload for Mark Ingram, who received many of the carries that would have gone to Thomas in past years. Before he finished the season on injured reserve, Thomas ran for 222 yards on 45 attempts, both career-low totals. He did remain fairly involved in the passing game, however, grabbing 45 balls out of the backfield.
The longtime Saint had a brief stint with the Niners this season, but was released by San Francisco after just one game. In Washington, he’ll likely get a chance to see some snaps on third downs, with running back Chris Thompson battling a torn labrum in his shoulder. Thomas will join a backfield that also features Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones.
As for Paea, the former Bear started just one game for Washington this season after getting 40 starts in his previous three years in Chicago. While his part-time role limited his overall numbers (19 tackles, 2.5 sacks), Paea was solid during his time on the field, ranking as Pro Football Focus‘ 45th interior defensive lineman, out of 128 qualified players.
Paea, whose toe injury landed him on IR, is under contract for a $3.3MM salary and a $4.7MM cap hit in 2016, and Washington would create less than $1MM in cap savings by cutting him, so he looks like a good bet to return next year.