Michael Thomas (the defensive back) will be sticking with the AFC champs. Thomas is re-signing with the Bengals, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter).
Despite going undrafted out of Stanford in 2012, Thomas has managed to put together a 10-year career. He spent the 2021 campaign with the Bengals after catching on with their practice squad. The veteran ended up seeing time in eight games (one starts) for Cincy, collecting 18 tackles while appearing primarily on special teams. Thomas also saw time in each of the Bengals’ four playoff games.
Thomas spent the first five seasons of his career with the Dolphins before moving on to the Giants, where he earned his lone Pro Bowl appearance. Following two seasons in New York, Thomas spent the 2020 season with the Texans.
During the early parts of free agency, the Bengals have been focused on retaining their own guys. They franchise safety Jessie Bates, and they re-signed defensive tackle B.J. Hill and linebacker Joe Bachie.
Veteran defensive back Michael Thomas was limited to only nine games in 2020 thanks to a pectoral injury, but the former Pro Bowler told Aaron Wilson that he’s been fully cleared by Dr. James Andrews.
“I feel amazing,” Thomas said (via Wilson on Twitter). “The pec is feeling good, my body feels healthy. Texans, whoever, come get me. My agent told me a couple of teams have been poking around. I would love to go back with the Texans. We’ll see.”
Thomas inked a one-year deal with Houston this past offseason, and he collected 16 tackles in nine games before suffering a torn pectoral in late November. The defensive back later underwent season-ending surgery, but it sounds like the 31-year-old is now fully recovered. Teams searching for secondary and/or special teams depth would surely consider adding the veteran to their depth chart.
The 2012 undrafted free agent out of Stanford has put together a very solid NFL career. Following a stint with the 49ers to kick off his professional career, Thomas ended up spending five seasons with the Dolphins, starting 25 of his 56 games. He got a two-year deal from the Giants prior to the 2018 campaign, and he earned his lone Pro Bowl nod that season after compiling 59 tackles, one sack, and two picks.
Texans defensive back Michael Thomas is done for the year. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the veteran has a torn pectoral and will undergo season-ending surgery.
The 30-year-old apparently suffered the injury during last week’s loss to the Browns, but he still managed to finish the contest. The former Pro Bowler is set to hit free agency following the 2020 campaign, and Pelissero notes that Thomas should be “healthy in plenty of time for camp.”
The 2012 undrafted free agent out of Stanford has put together a very solid NFL career. Following a stint with the 49ers to kick off his professional career, Thomas ended up spending five seasons with the Dolphins, starting 25 of his 56 games.
He got a two-year deal from the Giants prior to the 2018 campaign, and he earned his lone Pro Bowl nod that season after compiling 59 tackles, one sack, and two picks. Thomas inked a one-year deal with Houston this past offseason.
The Texans are signing veteran safety and special teamer Michael Thomas, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). It’s a one-year deal, tweets Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.
Thomas, not to be confused with the Saints receiver of the same name, is widely considered one the best special teams players in the NFL. Throughout his career with the Dolphins and Giants, Thomas has regularly played more than 75% of his team’s ST snaps. In addition, he’s viewed as an excellent locker room presence and was New York’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2018, tweets Raanan.
A Pro Bowler as a special teamer in 2018, Thomas has seen significant action on the defense in the past, as he played more than 45% of his club’s defensive snaps in 2015, 2016, and 2018. However, Houston already has Justin Reid and Tashaun Gipson lined up as starters at safety, and the team also signed defensive back Eric Murray to a three-year deal last month. Thus, Thomas will likely spend most of his time on special teams duty.
The Texans have placed an emphasis on special teams in recent years, so the addition of Thomas shouldn’t come as a total surprise. Houston ranked fifth in Football Outsiders‘ special teams metric in each of the past two seasons.
Okung, who unveiled his candidacy earlier this year, was also nominated Monday. Okung, Thomas and Acho are current members of the NFLPA’s executive committee. Tretter serves as the Browns’ third co-alternate union representative.
The NFLPA will elect its next president on Tuesday; the union’s board members are meeting in south Florida this week to discuss key matters. One item obviously overshadows the rest this week. Players now have until 10:59pm CT Saturday to vote on the CBA. The NFLPA voted Monday to delay the deadline for two days.
Eric Winston has served in the role since 2014, but he will cycle out of it after ending his playing career after the 2018 season. The next president may or may not be thrust into a high-stakes situation. If more than 50% of players vote against CBA ratification, the 2020 season will be played under the 2011 CBA. That CBA expires in March 2021. Players voting against the proposal will increase the prospects of a strike or lockout next year.
Of the new members, Okung and Thomas submitted “no” votes on the CBA; Acho voted “yes” on the proposal, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Tretter did not indicate which way he has voted on the owners’ offer, Pelissero adds (via Twitter). Okung has been a hard-liner against the 17-game schedule, so much so he filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the staff of the NFLPA, Ken Belson of the New York Times reports.
Okung’s filing accuses union executive director DeMaurice Smith of forcing a union-wide CBA vote despite objections from the executive committee, Belson adds. The executive committee voted 6-5 in February not to recommend the owners’ CBA proposal, and after the Combine meeting, the executive committee was at 7-4 against recommending the CBA, Belson reports. However, the union’s 32-player board voted to send the proposal for a union-wide vote.
Should the recent Panthers trade acquisition receive the keys after the players vote down a proposal Smith and Winston championed, the league could be set for period of uncertainty over the next several months.
Despite an offseason that included retirement rumors, contract frustration and trade talks, Rob Gronkowski appears to be sufficiently ready to put some of this behind him. The Patriots‘ future Hall of Fame tight end attributed his time away from the team to determining whether he could handle the rigors of a ninth season.
“I am refreshed,” Gronkowski told NFL.com’s Willie McGinest (via NBC Sports Boston). “You know after the season, long seasons, how your body can feel and everything. I just wanted to see where I was at, and see how I can get my body feeling, see if I can handle it, endure it again, and I feel like I’m super ready, man.”
Gronkowski remains without an adjusted contract, despite the sides being rumored to be close to finalizing one. Gronk has not been connected to a training camp holdout just yet, though given his injury history and actions this offseason, one can’t necessarily be ruled out. But the 29-year-old tight end is set to return for the Patriots, which will be even more important than it usually is considering Julian Edelman will miss a second straight September.
Here’s the latest from New England and some other cities whose teams play in Eastern divisions.
After Danielle Hunter‘s extension, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston identifies Trey Flowers as a prime candidate to cash in. However, Flowers’ Patriots employment may delay a big deal. The Patriots have traded away defenders with higher profiles in recent years, dealing Jamie Collins and future All-Pro Chandler Jones, so Curran warns this situation could be slow-played — particularly because of the Hunter deal — past Flowers’ 2018 contract year. Although, Hunter’s $12MM-AAV extension can be considered a team-friendly pact given his age and potential. Flowers led the AFC champions with 6.5 sacks last season and looks to again be the team’s best edge-rushing presence.
With less than two weeks left until the deadline for teams to sign franchise-tagged players to extensions, might the Cowboys consider letting DeMarcus Lawrence play on the tag? The Cowboys may be somewhat skittish about the defensive end’s injury history, per Jori Epstein of the Dallas Morning News, and would like to see if Lawrence can duplicate his breakout 2017 season. While Lawrence is set to count $17MM-plus toward Dallas’ 2018 cap, the team already finalized an extension with Zack Martin and still has $14.8MM worth of cap space. And the Cowboys did not replace Dez Bryant or Jason Witten with big-money pass-catchers, so they may now be in position to take a wait-and-see approach with Lawrence.
The Giants added backup safety/special-teamer Michael Thomas in late March, before it became clear something was amiss with the safety market. Thomas signed for two years and $4MM, which gave the expected backup a better deal than longtime Chiefs starter Ron Parkerreceived from the Falcons last week. Needless to say, Thomas believes something is up and connects it to Eric Reid‘s status as a free agent. “I was never worried, but collusion is real,” Thomas said about his free agency, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I understand that, but it was a blessing in disguise. The Giants organization was the right situation for me.” Thomas isn’t the first outside of Reid to connect the former 49er’s offseason to the slowed safety market. Reid remains embroiled in a grievance with the NFL over his unemployment, which he connects to his involvement in the racial inequality-themed protests of the past two years.
The Giants have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with free agent safety Michael Thomas, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Thomas is one of the league’s best special-teamers, as he played more than 70% of the Dolphins’ ST snaps over the past four seasons while leading the NFL in special teams tackles during that time. He should assist a Giants special teams unit that ranked dead last in DVOA a year ago, while he’ll also add a high-character voice in New York’s locker room. Rannan indicated earlier this offseason that Giants general manger Dave Gettleman was intent on altering the club’s culture, and Thomas was specifically mentioned as a viable option for aiding in that effort.
While his defensive playing time has decreased in each of the past two seasons, Thomas started 13 games for Miami as recently as 2015. A such, he could conceivably be in competition for a starting role with the Giants, as Darian Thompson graded as a bottom-20 safety (per Pro Football Focus) while playing opposite Pro Bowler Landon Collins. Thompson played on 96% of New York’s defensive snaps in 2017, so he won’t be easy to jar loose, but Thomas could be in line for snaps, if only in three-safety looks.
The Steelers hosted safety Michael Thomas on a visit, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic tweets. This is the first known visit for Thomas, who spent five seasons with the Dolphins.
However, Kaboly reports Thomas left Pittsburgh’s facility without a contract. Both sides could be surveying their options, and the Steelers are in need of safety help.
Pittsburgh cut longtime back-line starter Mike Mitchell, though the Steelers are interested in a reunion at a lower rate, and has not seen its second-round investment in Sean Davis pay off just yet. Despite restructuring the deals of several players, the Steelers still have barely $2MM in cap space.
Thomas, who turned 29 over the weekend, served as a part-time starter and full-time special-teamer in Miami. He made 24 starts (12 in 2015) during his tenure with the Dolphins.
Here’s more on the Giants, all courtesy of Raanan:
Teams around the league are viewing Giants free agent Weston Richburg as both a center and a guard, per Raanan. Richburg has played at the pivot for the past three years, but he spend time at guard during his rookie season in 2014. Although injuries limited him to only four games in 2017, Richburg will be the best center available on the open market, leading a positional group that also includes Ryan Jensen, John Sullivan, Russell Bodine, and Travis Swanson, but he could increase his number of suitors by exhibiting versatility.
The Giants could field five new starters along their offensive line in 2018, a source tells Raanan. While that overhaul likely wouldn’t removing Brett Jones, who filled in for Richburg at center last season, but it would still represent a massive overhaul. Notably, changeover at all five positions would mean New York has moved on from former first-round pick, and incumbent left tackle, Ereck Flowers. Panthers guard Andrew Norwell could be part of the renovation, as Giants general manager Dave Gettleman reportedly “loves” the Carolina free agent, Raanan writes in a separate piece.
A number of Giants free agents are unlikely to remain with the club next year, per Raanan. Defensive lineman Jay Bromley and Kerry Wynn aren’t expected to re-sign, as neither is a good fit for new defensive coordinator James Bettcher‘s 3-4 scheme. Bromley, notably, is reportedly looking for a larger role on defense, according to Raanan, as he’s spent the majority of his career as a reserve. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas, additionally, doesn’t appear to be on the Giants’ radar, as the club is looking to get younger at the second level of its defense.
Gettleman will likely try to improve the Giants’ locker room culture by inking established veterans on the defensive side of the ball, and Raanan lists incumbent linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and Dolphins’ special teams ace Michael Thomas as players New York could sign for their leadership.