Patriots expecting Thomas
Pats meet with Brady, Morris; say goodbye to Dillon
March 2, 2007
The Patriots are on the cusp of making a major free agent splash, as linebacker Adalius Thomas is scheduled to arrive in town tomorrow. Assuming he passes a physical and there are no unexpected hitches, the sides are expected to finalize an agreement to make Thomas a Patriot, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
Breaking News Alerts Thomas, 29, is widely considered one of the top players in free agency. Earlier today, his agent, James "Bus" Cook, indicated that things were moving quickly.
"I'm hoping that in the next day or two we get it all figured out, and that we get it knocked out over the weekend," Cook said of general negotiations, not those specifically with the Patriots. "Stay tuned and we'll see what happens. As one would imagine, it's been real, real crazy."
The 6-foot-2-inch, 270-pound Thomas, who has spent the first seven years of his career with the Ravens, totaled a career-high 11 sacks last season. He is a versatile, athletic defender who would likely line up at outside linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 defense, and can rush the passer as a down lineman. Linebacker is arguably the Patriots' most pressing need, and Thomas would provide an unquestioned boost.
Free agency began this morning at 12:01, and while the Patriots have usually avoided the initial rush, when salaries are often sky-high, this year is different. Thomas could command as much as $18 million in bonuses, with the aggressive Patriots vying against the 49ers, and perhaps others.
One factor that might have helped the Patriots in their pursuit was that Thomas got to know coach Bill Belichick at the Pro Bowl in February.
"I never really met Belichick before, and you always hear about how he's a mean guy, but it's real interesting to see how he reacts with different players, how he gets comfortable over here," Thomas told the Associated Press at the time. "He's actually a really nice guy. I was surprised."
While the team's courting of Thomas generated a significant buzz, the Patriots also hosted veteran tight end Kyle Brady and running back Sammy Morris, and officially released running back Corey Dillon.
The 6-6, 280-pound Brady, who is entering his 13th season, is known for his blocking and durability (missing only nine games in his career). His receiving numbers have dipped in recent years, as he had five catches in 16 games last season.
Brady, 35, is likely seeking a short-term deal, and barring a contract agreement with the Patriots last night, he was scheduled to meet with the Broncos tomorrow. Brady's presence in Foxborough was likely tied to the Patriots' belief that free agent Daniel Graham will be signing elsewhere, and that Brady is the best player on the market to fill the void.Continued...
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