Adalius Thomas was supposed to be the lynch pin of the Patriots defense, a guy who could use his amazing physical ability to wreak havoc on AFC offenses. Unfortunately, the reality is Thomas never truly lived up to his potential for New England, and the team decided to end their relationship. Patriots Insider has learned the team has informed Thomas he has been released.
First reported by a number of Boston media outlets, the news comes as no surprise. Thomas had fallen out of favor with the team in 2009 and both sides were reportedly headed different directions in 2010.
The beginning of the end came after Thomas was one of four Patriots sent home for being late to a meeting. To be fair, it snowed causing traffic delays, but players were not allowed excuses. Thomas was publicly upset with the decision. After voicing his displeasure while speaking to the media, he was a “healthy scratch” the following week. From there, the relationship with his boss, Bill Belichick, deteriorated.
Once a prized free agent in 2007, Thomas chose New England over the 49ers in what both sides deemed a great decision to add the former Raven to the roster. Thomas was considered a specialist in Baltimore, a linebacker who could cover as well as apply pressure to the QB. It was a role New England desperately needed someone to fill, and one Thomas tried.
After three seasons, the realization for the team was that Thomas didn’t fit the team’s needs and it was time to part ways. The lack of a CBA facilitated the move. Thomas was scheduled to earn just under $5 million this season in salary, and his cap number was nearly double that. Without a cap, the Patriots can release the veteran defender and not take a cap hit.
The Patriots added a pair of linebackers in this year’s NFL Draft with Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes. Cunningham is considered an OLB prospect after playing as an end in college. Spikes is more of an inside backer. Thomas played both positions for the Patriots. His versatility was considered an asset, though he never truly mastered both positions.
To be fair to Thomas, the team moved him around during his time in Foxboro. He never had the chance to settle into one particular role, like others in the past have done; Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi…
The timing of Thomas’ release is an important consideration. The New York Jets are headed by Thomas’ former defensive coordinator in Baltimore, Rex Ryan. It’s believed, untl the Jets signed Jason Taylor (Dolphins) as a free agent and the team went through the Draft, that releasing Thomas any earlier would only lead him to reunite with his former coach. The Jets may still grab Thomas off the street and give him a chance to play the Patriots twice a year.
Thomas appeared in 39 regular season games for New England, recording 144 total tackles, 14,5 sacks one INT and a TD.