Houston Texans: Joe Thomas back with team after being released

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Texans have changed their mind on a linebacker that was released a couple days ago.

After the Houston Texans released linebacker Joe Thomas on Aug. 31 to get to their initial 53-man roster, the franchise has changed their mind and are brining back the defensive player after re-signing him to the to the roster on Thursday.

Though he’s never played a regular season snap for the Houston Texans, the re-signing of Thomas, a seven-year NFL veteran, stands out because they did so after having a roster spot open when they placed four-year defensive back A.J. Moore on the reserve/injured list on Thursday as well. Moore has to wait until the end of Week 3 to be activated if he is healthy enough to return at that time.

Last season Thomas played for the Dallas Cowboys, a 2020 season where he made four starts and was active for 15 games. He had 23 blitzes, three QB hurries, two QB knockdowns, five QB pressures and also five missed tackles. In all, Thomas collected 48 total tackles in ’20 with Dallas.

Thomas initially signed with the Houston Texans back in March of 2021 during the offseason for a one-year contract worth $1.5 million. Thomas played his first three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, and then the next three seasons with the Cowboys, making a total of eight starts in his NFL career.

This preseason, Thomas collected six total tackles (four solo) with one tackle for loss.

Houston Texans: Do they have enough depth at linebacker?

The linebacker depth chart on the active roster a little over a week before the regular season begins also includes: Kevin Pierre-Lewis, Garret Wallow (the only rookie linebacker on the roster), Christian Kirksey and Kamu Grugier-Hill (all at outside linebacker), plus Zach Cunningham and Neville Hewitt at inside linebacker.

On the practice squad, signings at linebacker have included Derek Rivers (OLB) and Hardy Nickerson (ILB).

Bringing back a veteran like Thomas is a move that could help the Texans early in the 2021 season because of the depth he brings to the roster, plus his experience at the NFL level is nice to have at a moment’s notice.

Though Thomas isn’t known for his ability to make sacks – he has just 1.5 in his first six NFL seasons – the linebacker can fill in a spot on the defense and hold his own against a given opponent, and maybe even contribute to the special teams.

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Basically to stay with the Houston Texans in ’21, he’s going to need to make himself a valuable and versatile player from here on out.