In a surprise move, the New York Jets released veteran linebacker Bryan Thomas (via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News) to make room on the roster for cornerback Donnie Fletcher, who was signed off the practice squad.
Thomas was drafted 22nd overall by the Jets in 2002 and has played with them for 11 seasons. Two key events made this sudden release an option.
First, cornerbacks Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant have not proven to be capable cornerbacks. Lankster is dealing with a back injury, and Trufant has been spending most of his time on the bench due to poor performance.
Second, the surprise performance by linebacker Garrett McIntyre in Week 2 makes the absence of Thomas for a few weeks less of a problem.
Though the Jets have not yet commented on the matter, it seems likely that Thomas will return to the team later this season. He has value as a leader and locker-room presence. His value to any other team would be fairly small, given that he is 33 years old.
The wise move for the Jets' front office would be to re-sign Thomas as soon as he is healthy enough to play.
So far this season, Thomas, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, has played in one game and recorded only one assisted tackle. Nevertheless, he has been a valuable member of the Jets.
For this reason, fans should hope and also expect that he will be back in a Jets' uniform this year.