FRISCO, Texas –The Cowboys have begun to address their depth at linebacker, signing free agent linebacker Joe Thomas.
Thomas was a restricted free agent for the Green Bay Packers, where he played the last three seasons. The Packers opted not to tender him, opening him up to negotiate with other clubs.
During his three-year stint in Green Bay, Thomas provided useful depth for the Packers' linebacker corps – and occasionally a bit more than that. He has played in 42 career games with eight starts.
His best work to date came in 2016, when he rose from a part-time dime linebacker to one of Green Bay's best inside linebackers, starting seven games and tallying 70 tackles with five pass deflections and an interception.
For his career, he has 99 total tackles across three different seasons of work.
It will be a different scheme, but Thomas' role for the Cowboys will likely look similar to what he did in Green Bay. He'll likely be a key member of the special teams units, especially after Kyle Wilber and Keith Smith departed in free agency. On top of that, he provides veteran experience and capable depth behind Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith.
Thomas' signing will actually serve as a bit of a homecoming, as he had a brief stint with the Cowboys back in 2015.
After going undrafted out of South Carolina State in 2014, Thomas signed with Green Bay and spent his rookie season with the Packers. At the outset of the 2015 season, the Cowboys added him to their practice squad after preseason roster cuts. Thomas spent two weeks with the Cowboys, before Green Bay signed him back to their active roster.