Bryan Thomas has had one of the most odd Jets careers I can remember. He has spent eleven years with the team as a first round pick. He was a starter for the last seven of them. Usually you remember a player like that as a great success. I don't really think of Thomas in that way. He was drafted to be an impact player. He played an impact position, but he never really made a huge impact. He was just kind of there and kept his job because the Jets never got around to finding anybody better.
When the Jets took Thomas in the first round in 2002, they thought they were building a new Sack Exchange with fellow young first round picks John Abraham and Shaun Ellis. Even though they needed a safety and had these two defensive ends, they passed on Ed Reed to take Thomas. The Jets have had up and down safety play since. Thomas barely got off the bench early in his career. In 2006, he earned a starting job by default and moved to outside linebacker, registering 8.5 sacks in a contract year.
Since then he has been solid against the run but was not an impact pass rusher. Year after year we heard about how the Jets needed an edge rusher. It was in no small part because Thomas gave so little in that area. The Jets really needed to upgrade his position for years. Instead they went back to the well year after year as Thomas' play declined and he got more injury prone.
A change has been long overdue. Thomas should be thanked for his long service to the team, but I don't see the point in having him on the roster. The Jets could have saved their money this year, used Garrett McIntyre in the same role, and gotten pretty much the same production.