The inevitable release of veteran players in favor of younger and cheaper talent is the typical MO of pro teams after an NFL draft, an unfortunate apsect of professional football currently in full swing.
Several veteran players have been cut league wide but two of the more notable to be caught up in the purge are defensive tackle John Henderson formerly of the Jaguars and linebacker Adalius Thomas formerly of the Patriots.
Henderson, a two-time Pro Bowler, is famously know for a pre-game ritual that typical involves someone slapping him across the face to hype him up before a game.
Unfortunately those slaps haven’t been as effective in recent years as Henderson’s production has declined from an average of 4 + sacks and 60 + tackles to 2+ sacks and 40+ tackles over the last few seasons.
The Jaguars first round pick in 2002 Henderson finishes his career there with 423 tackles, 29 sacks, 38 pass deflections and 8 forced fumbles.
New Orleans could use depth at defensive tackle which Henderson could provide and at 6-7 335 possesses a big frame that could bulk up the Saints porous run defense, even rushing the passer on third down.
He even played for Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams when he was the defensive coordinator in Jacksonville during the 2008-2009 season, Williams loves to blitz and letting Henderson push the pile makes allot of sense.
Henderson has already lined up a visit with the Kansas City Chiefs and although the Saints have not shown any interest in him if he leaves Kansas City without a deal it’s not entirely far fetched they may want to bring him in for a visit.
Adalius Thomas has been arguably one of the Patriots best linebackers since signing with them in free agency prior to the 2007 season enjoying mixed success after battling injury appearing in 39 of the 48 games posting 146 tackles, 14 sacks, 14 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles and 1 interception returned for a touchdown.
Prior to joining the Patriots Thomas played for the Baltimore Ravens from 2000-2006 after being drafted there as sixth round pick making two Pro Bowls, one in 2003 then again in 2006.
Thomas is a hybrid DE/OLB more suited to a 3-4 scheme, where he has spent his entire career, than a 4-3 scheme which the Saints employ.
Most likely he would not suit the bill as true outside linebacker for the Saints but it’s not uncommon for 3-4 linebacker’s to have great success as 4-3 defensive ends when rushing the passer.
The Jets have been snatching up players left and right this off-season and are reportedly interested in adding Thomas into their defense, this on the heels of them acquiring DE/OLB Jason Taylor from the Miami Dolphins.
It seems unlikely Thomas will end up with the Saints or even if they had stated interest in him that he would be willing to play in a 4-3 defense.