The New York Jets might be willing to give him a go.
Outside linebacker Calvin Pace reportedly will miss the next four to six weeks with a foot injury and will undergo surgery on Monday in North Carolina. Head coach Rex Ryan said he already has reached out to Thomas, who played for him with the Baltimore Ravens.
"I would say that would be a possibility," Ryan said of Thomas joining the Jets. "I wouldn't rule that out."
Ryan was cryptic on a conference call Sunday, hinting that Thomas might not be an organizational fit.
"There's some other things involved, other factors involved," Ryan said. "Sometimes what really makes sense might not make sense to the organization. We'll see."
Money always is an issue. The Jets also need to shore up their defensive line with backup end Ropati Pitoitua's season-ending Achilles injury. Rodrique Wright appeared to be a candidate to step up, but the Jets waived him Sunday.
Thomas was in Baltimore from 2000 through 2006, going to a pair of Pro Bowls. Ryan was Baltimore's defensive coordinator in Thomas' last two seasons and its defensive line coach before that.
Thomas was selected as a first-team All-Pro in his final season with the Ravens, registering 11 sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a safety.
He used that season to obtain a five-year, $35 million contract from the Patriots. That made him the biggest free-agent acquisition in club history. In his three seasons, he played 39 games and managed 14.5 sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.
He fell out of favor in New England. Last year, head coach Bill Belichick benched Thomas for two games and kicked him out of the team's facility along with Randy Moss and two other players for showing up late to a team meeting.
"With us, he'd be a guy that would give you depth," Ryan said. "He was a tremendous player in our sub package. A lot of the defenses that we came up with that are looked at as maybe unique in the league was because of his physical abilities and his mental abilities. He definitely knows this system. He'd fit right back in."
Ryan also said third-year pro Vernon Gholston would see more time at outside linebacker with Pace out. Gholston, who played outside linebacker his first two seasons, had been moved to defensive end.