I don't know if it's possible to give a coaching staff a greater compliment than this: If Zach Thomas signs with any team in the league other than the New England Patriots, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. If he signs with the Pats, however, it's front page news and everyone throws up their hands and says, "Oh, great, the Patriots get another standout linebacker."
And it's not an inappropriate response. Zach Thomas will accomplish more as a Patriot than he could anywhere else. For the Pats, it might finally be time to start thinking about replacing Tedy Bruschi, and the Belichick defense clearly prefers veteran inside linebackers. They don't care if you're old, slow, or small. If you're a gamer and a smart player, you can be a Patriots linebacker. Zach Thomas, in that sense, is ideal.
The Patriots were the first team he visited in free agency, and there are other teams interested, but Thomas may never make those trips. New England offered him a contract last night. There's no word on contract specifics, but if I had to guess, I'd say that New England offered him 2 years, $5 million, his own parking space, and the ability to know ahead of time every play that opposing offenses are going to run.
• Zach Thomas fielding offers / Yahoo! Sports
Doug Farrar is the editor of Shutdown Corner, Yahoo! Sports’ NFL blog.