Joe Thomas is heading back to Houston. After getting cut by the Texans earlier this week, the linebacker is re-signing with the organization,
The former undrafted free agent saw time in 42 games for the Packers between the 2015 and 2017 seasons, including a 2016 campaign where he finished with 70 tackles and five passes defended. Thomas moved on to the Cowboys in 2018 and proceeded to spend the next three seasons in Dallas, seeing time in 42 games (eight starts).
The linebacker got into 15 games (four starts) for the Cowboys in 2020 and had one of the best seasons of his career, finishing the year with 48 tackles, three tackles for loss, and a pair of QB hits. The 30-year-old inked a one-year deal with the Texans back in March but was released during final cuts this week.
There’s a number of notable names on this list, including wideout Keke Coutee, who has started 10 of his 23 games over the past three years for the Texans. Perhaps the most important move is the activation of Cannon, who was acquired from the Patriots earlier this offseason. The 33-year-old is expected to provide the Texans offense with a veteran presence, and his return to practice may have bumped another veteran from the roster. The team released lineman Lane Taylor, who sat on PUP for all of the preseason while recovering from a torn ACL. The veteran has only appeared in two games since the 2019 season, and his return to the NFL will now have to take place elsewhere.
Here are Sunday’s minor moves. The players who landed on injured reserve are eligible to come off teams’ respective lists after three weeks. For 2020, teams can also activate an unlimited number of IR players — as opposed to the two-man max of 2019.
The Cowboys have re-signed linebacker Joe Thomas to a one-year contract, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).
Thomas, 28, has spent his career oscillating between Dallas and Green Bay. While he played 632 snaps with the Packers in 2016, he’s mostly played in reserve roles. Last season, Thomas was pressed into duty during the latter half of the year following an injury to Cowboys starter Leighton Vander Esch.
The Cowboys will return Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Sean Lee in 2020, meaning Thomas will see most of his action come on special teams. The former undrafted free agent out of South Carolina State has played roughly 55% of Dallas special teams snaps in each of the past two seasons.
The Cowboys picked up an option on receiver Allen Hurns earlier today, and that wasn’t the only one they exercised. The team is also picking up their options on center Joe Looney and linebacker Joe Thomas, a source told Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Looney has been with the Cowboys the past three seasons, and was a backup interior lineman the first two. After starter Travis Frederick missed the entire 2018 season, Looney ended up starting all 16 games. He signed a two-year deal with the team last March, but the second year was a team option that needed to be decided on by March 13th.
Looney will get paid a base salary of $1MM in 2019 with incentives worth up to $500k, according to Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan. Assuming Frederick is able to return in 2019, which looks to be the case, Looney should return to a reserve role. He received poor marks from Pro Football Focus last year, and was ranked the 32nd best center in the league by PFF.
Thomas played sparingly on defense last season, but was a contributor on special teams. He signed a two-year deal worth up to $3.6MM last March.
Although the Giants are not actively shopping wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., team owner John Mara (once again) didn’t dismiss the idea of dealing the star pass-catcher. “Do I want [Beckham] to be traded? Absolutely not,” said Mara, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY (Twitter link). “I want him to be a Giant. I can’t promise that’s going to happen. We’re not looking to get rid of him, OK? I’d like him to be a Giant. But if you’re asking me for a 100% guarantee, nobody has that.” Beckham may reportedly consider a holdout if he’s not extended by the start of the 2018 season, but he’s clearly not in the good graces of New York’s decision-makers at the moment. Mara recently indicated he’s “tired of answering questions” about OBJ, who was involved in a video that may have involved drug use earlier this year.
Let’s take a look at more from the NFC East:
Free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is in a holding pattern with the Redskins after meeting with the club last week, as John Keim of ESPN.com writes. Asking price could be an issue, as Keim indicated Washington views Hankins as a potential complementary piece of its run defense rather than a key cog. As such, Hankins may not be in the Redskins’ plans unless his cost comes down. Fellow interior lineman Bennie Logan remains under consideration, but given that Washington has yet to schedule a visit, its interest clearly isn’t serious. If neither Hankins nor Logan end up in the nation’s capital, the Redskins should be expected to target defensive tackle help through the draft.
New Cowboys linebacker Joe Thomas‘ two-year deal is worth up to $3.6MM, tweets Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Thomas, who had spent his entire career in Green Bay, received a $1MM signing bonus and will also have $400K of his base salary guaranteed. The Packers opted to non-tender Thomas as a restricted free agent rather than pay him an original round tender of $1.907MM, and Thomas won’t meet that mark with Dallas, either, as Demovsky reports Thomas will collect just $1.6MM total in 2018. Thomas, 26, will likely spend most of his time on the Cowboys’ special teams unit, but will provide depth in case Sean Lee or Jaylon Smith go down with injury.
The Cowboys have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent linebacker Joe Thomas, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The pact is worth up to $4.6MM, tweets Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.
Thomas, not to be confused with the former Browns tackle of the same same, is now on the open market after the Packers declined to tender him as a restricted free agent last week. The 26-year-old Thomas, who spent time on the Dallas practice squad in 2015, started seven games and played 60% of Green Bay’s defensive snaps in 2016, but saw his playtime drop to 13% last season.
The Cowboys appear to be set at linebacker with a trio of Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Damien Wilson, so Thomas won’t see playing time right off the bat. However, both Lee and Smith have dealt with serious injuries in the past, so Thomas will offer depth in case either goes down again.
Dallas’ wide receiver depth chart is fluid at the moment, as the Cowboys haven’t yet asked No. 1 pass-catcher Dez Bryant to accept a pay cut in order to remain on the roster. It’s unclear if Bryant will even be forced to take a pay reduction, but the Cowboys have other problems at receiver beyond Bryant. Terrance Williams managed only 568 yards in the first year of a four-year extension, while Brice Butler is an unrestricted free agent.
Thompson played for two teams in 2017, as he signed with the Bills in October after being released by the Bears. Overall, last season marked Thompson’s best campaign to date, as he set career-highs in both receptions (38) and yards (555). Thompson, 29, has also reportedly drawn interest from the Broncos and the incumbent Bills, but his visit with the Cowboys will mark his first official free agent meeting.
Thomas, not to be confused with the former Browns tackle of the same same, is now on the open market after the Packers declined to tender him as a restricted free agent last week. The 26-year-old started seven games and played 60% of Green Bay’s defensive snaps in 2016, but saw his playtime drop to 13% last season. Thomas would serve as depth and contribute on special teams if signed by the Cowboys.