One of the most overlooked needs for the New York Jets this offseason is the safety spot.
They let Marcus Maye walk in free agency and he signed a monster three-year deal for $28.5 million to join the New Orleans Saints. In a corresponding move, the Jets signed Jordan Whitehead.
Despite that addition, they still have a massive void on the backend of their defense and there hasn’t been much talk on how they plan on filling it.
Although a new opportunity has presented itself that could change that dynamic ahead of the 2022 NFL draft.
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A Potential NFL Comeback
Adam Schefter of ESPN shared on Twitter that veteran safety Earl Thomas who hasn’t played in the league since 2019, is attempting an NFL comeback.
“I’m in shape. My timing is on point and I’m proud of that,” the seven-time Pro Bowler texted Schefter.
The 32-year-old (will be 33 by the start of the 2022 season) originally entered the NFL back in 2010 as the No. 14 overall pick in the first round out of Texas.
Thomas became a key part of the legion of boom with the Seattle Seahawks and achieved a ton of success both as an individual and as a member of the team:
- Super Bowl champion
- Three-time First-Team All-Pro
Although after spending nine years with the Seahawks, things came to an ugly end with him being carted off of the field with a broken leg. As he was being carted away the cameras caught him flipping the bird at Seattle head coach Pete Carroll.
He found a new home that very next offseason by way of the Baltimore Ravens on a massive four-year deal worth over $55 million. Unfortunately, Thomas only lasted one season there and was cut the following August after an altercation in practice. He has been a free agent ever since.
Some Risks to the Move
Current Jets head coach Robert Saleh crossed over with Thomas in Seattle for three seasons from 2011 through 2013.
That familiarity could ease the transition for a player making an NFL comeback after a few years away from the game. It wouldn’t hurt for the Jets to bring him in for a workout to see if he still has any gas left in the tank.
The career numbers are stunningly impressive:
- 30 interceptions
- 71 pass deflections
- 12 forced fumbles
- Over 713 total tackles
In theory, the green and white could add him as a stopgap for the present and draft a young player on the second or third day of the draft to learn underneath him.
Thomas would be a perfect fit on the backend of the Jets’ defense and his best quality is exactly what they were missing last year. Gang Green couldn’t stumble into a turnover, only securing seven picks last year (which ranked 31st in the NFL).
The Jets have nothing to lose by kicking the tires. Right now the other starter on paper is Lamarcus Joyner who is coming off of a lost season due to a torn triceps. If you bring him in for a workout and he is clearly over the hill, then you don’t sign him.
Although on the other hand if you still think he has some juice left then you sign him to a one-year prove-it deal. This could be a win-win scenario for the Jets ahead of the draft.
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