Former Pro Bowl OLB Thomas Now On the Market

The New England Patriots have released two-time Pro Bowler Adalius Thomas. Thomas, a much hyped free agent acquisition for the Patriots three years ago, never reached the level of production he had in Baltimore. Additionally, he fell into disfavor with Coach Brian Belichick , and was kept off the active roster for two games last season for non-health related reasons. Thomas said he wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots cut ties with him following the 2009 season, and sure enough, he's on the open market once again.

I think this is an interesting development, one the Packers have to take a look at. They failed to draft a promising OLB in the draft after Aaron Kampman's departure, and they just lost OLB Jeremy Thompson to a health-necessitating retirement. Unless they want Clay Matthews to see a plethora of double teams next year, an upgrade to this unit is needed.

Thomas is 32, not necessarily the ideal age for a free agent acquisition. However, at this point, I think he's the best option the Packers have. He's an explosive athlete at 6'3 270 who, only 3 years ago, was considered one of the NFL's most fearsome pass-rushers. Even though his performance in the last couple years hasn't been noteworthy, he did rack up 6.5 sacks and 78 tackles in his first year in New England, plus two more sacks in the Patriots Super Bowl loss to the Giants. He has played only as a 3-4 OLB in the NFL, from either side, so there certainly is no uncertainty that he can play the position.

As for his "discipline issues," for what it's worth, Belichick is none to be an over-zealous and sometimes unreasonable disciplinarian. After showing up to an 8 a.m. meeting 9 minutes late, Thomas was sent home by Coach Belichick, despite the fact that there was a snow storm that morning and Thomas had even called ahead.

I don't think Thomas has any deep-rooted character issues and even at 32, he can still play the game and provide the Packers with what they most definitely need: a pass-rushing threat off the left side. I think he's worth a serious look-over by Ted Thompsen and Co. It's the least they can do after completely failing to address the need at OLB during the draft.

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