While the Green Bay Packers look for ways to improve their defense, they also made sure to retain a significant piece of last year’s unit. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn, the team has signed inside linebacker Joe Thomas to a one-year deal worth $615,000.
Thomas, who has accrued two official seasons in the NFL, became an exclusive-rights free agent this offseason. As such, he had little choice but to take the Packers’ offer, a minimum deal for a player with such limited experience. However, Thomas could make more money next offseason if he delivers a big 2017 campaign.
After entering the league as an undrafted free agent, Thomas became a regular figure of the Packers’ defense. In 2015, the team utilized him primarily as a coverage linebacker in the dime package. That role expanded a year later, with Thomas spending more time in the nickel package. As McGinn notes, Thomas played nearly 66 percent of the Packers’ defensive snaps last season, most among the team’s off-ball linebackers.
For his career, Thomas has amassed 96 tackles, six pass breakups, a sack, and a forced fumble. He turns 26 in May.