Adam Schefter of NFL.com is reporting that former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas - currently an unrestricted free agent - has many suitors. One of those suitors is, apparently, the Buffalo Bills.
Reports surfaced earlier this weekend that the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints were interested in bringing Thomas in for a visit; now, Schefter adds the Bills and Jets to the list of teams interested in visiting with the veteran tackling machine.
A 12-year veteran who will be 35 years old at the start of the 2008 NFL season, Thomas has been one of the most productive middle linebackers in the entire league since his rookie year of 1996 (157 tackles). He has anchored, along with former teammate Jason Taylor, several dominant Dolphins defenses, and is widely regarded as one of the best linebackers of his generation. Clearly, his pedigree, consistency (he only has two seasons with less than 100 tackles) and leadership skills make him an attractive free agent prospect.
Where Could Thomas Fit In?
Thomas has spent his entire career as a middle linebacker - a position the Bills addressed in the '07 draft with the addition of Paul Posluszny. However, Posluszny was at his most productive as a dominant college player when playing outside linebacker at Penn State. The young linebacker made it through just three games in his rookie season before being placed on Injured Reserve with a broken forearm. Is it possible that the Bills are looking to shift Posluszny back outside?
Thomas is an all-around linebacker. In addition to his 1,642 tackles, Thomas has accumulated 19.5 career sacks, forced 15 fumbles and nabbed 17 interceptions. At 5'11" and 228 pounds, size has always been a question mark for Thomas; in Buffalo's Cover-2 defense, however, size is not nearly as important as speed. Is it out of the question to think that Thomas could assume the starting weak side position, where his coverage skills would be tested, but his prowess in the run game would be a huge help?
One thing is clear: the incredible leadership that Thomas brings to an organization would do wonders for two of Buffalo's top young defenders, Posluszny and Angelo Crowell. The effect of having Thomas on this roster, tutoring those two players, may be worth experimenting with Posluszny's position (or Thomas', for that matter). Thomas will need to prove he can overcome an injury that limited him to five games last season; prior to that, however, Thomas had never missed more than five games in a season.
Should Thomas visit with Buffalo, it could invoke a moment of nostalgia for Bills fans. Former Bills running back (and current Hall of Famer) Thurman Thomas finished his career as a Dolphin; it would only be fitting, then, that Thomas - a staple in recent Dolphins lore - finish his career as a Bill.
Thoughts on this Schefter report?