Donald Thomas: A Low Cost Free Agent Option for the New York Jets

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Jan 13, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive lineman Donald Thomas (64) during the AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Texans 41-28. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets guard Matt Slauson (68) during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28-9. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

First thing to note is that Thomas played some at left and right guard in 2012, making him a bit more versatile than Slauson who played all of his games at left guard. (Note:Thomas didn’t start every game in 2012 as Slauson did, we will talk about that as we move forward.)

In 614 snaps, Thomas posted an overall PFF grade of 10.2, compared to Slauson, who posted a 2.5 in 834 overall snaps. Thomas only started 7 games, but we will look at how he performed in those games in a bit. In run blocking, Thomas obliterated Slauson with a grade of 7.8, to Slauson’s measley -4.2. Donald could show us a thing or two about screen pass blocking, with a 1.5 grade in that area.

The only major area that Slauson out-performed Thomas was in pass blocking, 5.1 to 1.1, although they allowed the same amount of sacks (1), and hurries (9), while Slauson gave up two more QB hits (4) than Thomas (2). There clearly isn’t a lot of debate here, Thomas has a bunch of ability.

But what about the starting issue? Can Donald Thomas hack it as a starting lineman in this league? Well, let’s examine how he graded out when he started.

In the 7 games that Thomas started, he posted a 1.6, 0.0, 2.9, 1.6, 1.3, 2.2, 2.9, bringing him to a 12.5 rating as a starter.

Finally, he only made $750,000 last year. Matt Slauson made $1,050,000. Even if Thomas got a raise to the money Slauson got, the Jets would get a lot more bang for their buck with Donald Thomas.

The Jets could take Warmack in the first round. But, they might have a more cost effective option in Donald Thomas. They should definitely take a look.

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