After taking things pretty slow during the first two days of free agency, the Las Vegas Raiders have had a big third day. They’ve already signed John Brown, traded Rodney Hudson and brought back Richie Incognito. It doesn’t appear like the team is done making moves yet either.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Raiders are signing defensive lineman Solomon Thomas to a one-year deal worth as much as $5 million.
Thomas will be coming over from the Raiders’ former Bay Area rival San Francisco 49ers. Back in 2017, he was the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. He was drafted over players like Jamal Adams, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Christian McCaffrey. While Thomas isn’t a bad player, the 49ers are definitely kicking themselves over that draft decision.
He’ll now get a chance to reboot his career in Las Vegas. He does have plenty of talent but only has six sacks in 48 career games. Thomas isn’t an elite pass rusher and probably never will be but if he can be a strong run stuffer and bring a little bit of pressure from the inside, he’ll be an asset for the Raiders.
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Thomas Is Coming off of Serious Injury
The biggest concern with Thomas is that he’s coming off of a season that saw him only play in two games. He tore his ACL in Week 2 against the New York Jets. According to Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Thomas’s surgery, the defensive lineman should heal up just fine.
“[Nick Bosa and Thomas] weren’t just straight-forward, isolated ACL injuries,” ElAttrache said, via The Athletic. “These were bigger injuries. But they’re both ahead of where ordinarily we’d expect them to be. And so they’re both going through their initial stages of functional performance training. So it’s looking very promising for both of those guys.”
Obviously, a torn ACL a very big deal for any football player. Fortunately for Thomas, he’s only 25-years-old and it sounds like he should recover nicely. If so, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Raiders use him.
How Thomas Fits With Raiders
Jon Gruden sure does love former first-round picks who didn’t stick with their original team. He took a shot on Dion Jordan a couple of seasons ago and signed Damarious Randall last offseason. Those moves didn’t really turn out that well for the team but perhaps Thomas will buck the trend.
He’ll likely spend most of his time at defensive tackle. With Johnathan Hankins retained and Maliek Collins signing with the Houston Texans, there is one open spot in the starting lineup. Maurice Hurst has probably shown more as a pass rusher than Thomas has but the Raiders don’t seem to like him as a starter. David Irving will also be in the mix to start at tackle. It will be an interesting position battle to watch. Hankins is going to start but it will be a while before we know who is starting next to him.