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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Tags: Donald Thomas Matt Slauson New York Jets Nfl Free Agency

  • JetOrange

    Certainly and option, but Thomas has to be at least the same cost as Slauson , possibly a little more. Slauson has played both Guard positions, but I thought he was impressive at Center when Mangold went down. Matt has worked with Mangold and Brick extensively, and his pass blocking could make him a good fit in Marty’s offense. Thomas , as noted, is a better run blocker,but I think he has a higher ceiling. In any event I think the market for both of these guys will be 2.5 – 3.5 a year

    • TheJetPress

      You think it will be that high? I am not sure they have shown enough to be worth that much, you might be right though.

      • JetOrange

        I think Tannenbaum agrees with you, MT understood the market, that’s why the Guard rotation with Vlad. Always a demand for healthy expieranced OL, it really helps that Slauson can play Center. Will probably wid up in Dallas back with Callahan

        • TheJetPress

          No!!! I think the same as the fired guy! No!!!! LOL. I had forgotten that Slauson played some center.

  • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

    Donald Thomas is easily superior to Slauson, and I honestly think the Patriots should start Thomas over Dan Connolly; that’s how much I think of Thomas, no slight to Connolly. This guy is going to come extremely cheap if he leaves the Patriots (I sure hope we keep him), and he will be a solid starter in this league.

    • TheJetPress

      I like him too Joe. Thanks for stopping by.