Sometimes you really hate being right. Way back when this whole site started I said enjoy what you see on the field because this would be the last year for Zach Thomas, the 11 year veteran, fan favorite, and sure bet for at least the ring of honor in the Dolphins Stadium has been released.
The release comes a short 4 days after 4 other veteran starters were cut, slicing approximately 11 million in salary and 8 in cap space. Today the move saves the Dolphins another 4 or 5, but with it comes the end of an era that the Miami Dolphins have not seen since the retirement of Don Shula and Dan Marino.
One of only two players left on the roster from the misake filled years of Jimmy Johnson, Zach Thomas became the little engine that could in winning over fans, media, and just about everyone else. It was a day after the season finale game against the Bengals, that Zach was seen removing his personal parking sign outside the training facility. Yet another sign that the end was all but assured.
“I want to thank the entire organization, especially Mr. Huizenga, for making my 12 seasons with the Dolphins as memorable as they were,” Thomas said. “I also want to thank all the coaches and teammates that I’ve had during my career for helping me to grow both on and off the field. I have a tremendous appreciation and admiration not only for the Dolphins organization, but for the fans as well, for all of the support that they have given me. I can’t thank Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland and the rest of Dolphins management enough for handling this situation in a first-class manner. I am healthy and look forward to playing in 2008, but will always consider myself a Miami Dolphin.”
Thomas has said that he wants to play one more year of football, and now, that he only wants to play for a contender. Somehow I think he ends up in one of two places. Dallas or New England. The latter would just about make everyone sick.
The next question that begs to be asked, and yet another predicition that I have made is the fate of DE Jason Taylor. Taylor has been the focus of many a rumors dating back to last year. Taylor has said that he does not want to be a part of a rebuild which is obviously taking place in Miami.
Taylor will not likely join Zach at his new destination, if there is a new destination. Taylor will likely find himself traded to a contender that will be on his “list” of approved teams. There is no knowledge of a “no trade clause” in his contract, but Taylors’ relationship with Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga would surely curtail a trade to a non-contender. I think he ends up north on I95 in Jacksonville.
As the sunsets on the Miami Dolphins career of one undersized all heart middle linebacker, it is only fitting that he now at least makes his own decisions. His blood, his sweat, his body is all over the turf at Dolphins stadium. Is it any wonder that this guy will be missed.
Thomas finished his last year in Miami on the injured reserve with 2 consecutive concussive events. His trade value had become next to nothing, a steal in round 5 12 years ago. Zach Thomas goes out unceremoniously and not on his terms. It is likely that Dolphins brass asked him his intentions and he refused to retire.
With free agency a mere two weeks away, the Miami Dolphins are closing in on 50 million in cap space. That is a huge number considering that the overall cap limit is 116. Assuredly, there are many more to come.
Tell Phinphanatic your greatest memories of the Zach Thomas.