According to team sources, former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas is scheduled to meet with team officials at Gillette Stadium today. Thomas is also set to meet with the Saints, and has interest from the Cowboys, Jets, and Bills.
When Thomas was released last week, I know a lot of fans were thinking: would the Patriots sign him? Initially, I thought they might. Then, after re-thinking it, I had dismissed the possibility. Throughout his career, Zach Thomas has solely been a 4-3 middle linebacker. At age 34, it would be quite difficult for him to switch over to the 3-4, where he will have to take on a lot more hits from guards, whereas in the 4-3, a middle linebacker is more “protected.”
Nevertheless, Belichick and Pioli must see something we don’t. They wouldn’t bother bringing him in if they didn’t think he could possibly switch to inside linebacker.That brings up the question; where would Zach Thomas fit in? It would all depend on what happens with Bruschi and Seau. I think both will return, and if they do, we would have a solid six-linebacker rotation, with Seau, Bruschi, Thomas, Thomas, Colvin, and Vrabel.
However, there are a couple of wildcards when considering linebacker pickups. The first is Oscar Lua. Lua got injured in the final preseason game, but the 2007 seventh round pick showed a lot of potential. He already knows the 3-4, is a good tackler, and has good instincts. The second is the draft. There are a couple of players who I think could work really well in the Pats’ 3-4 system. Headlining those players is J Lehman. No matter what happens, you can’t complain with the possibility of signing Zach Thomas. If it works out, great. If it doesn’t, then I think we have enough depth that it wouldn’t matter.