Yesterday we passed along a tweet from WFAN's Paul Dottino that suggested a later-rather-than-sooner projection for the return of injured New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas and indicated that injured reserve remained a possibility. Naturally, that got us talking around here: can the Giants afford to carry Thomas in the roster even if it's far from certain when he'll be able so suit up?
Some said yes: Thomas is good enough and worth waiting for. Others said no: roster spots are too precious, especially with Chris Canty and possible others starting the season not healthy enough to play. But it got me thinking: might the Giants release Thomas with an injury settlement allowing him to return later in the season?
Bear with me here. Despite a four-year deal with a big total number attached, Thomas' contract is for all intents and purposes a one-year "show me" deal. The team holds a $6 million option bonus for 2013, with another couple million in salary and incentives; Thomas is either going to earn that big money with healthy play in 2012 or the Giants are gong to want to revisit that whole, you know, big money thing.
At this point, even best case scenario, it looks like the ship has unfortunately sailed on healthy play for Thomas in 2012. We love Thomas. He's one of the nicest guys on the team and a heck of a player, but the uncertainty surrounding his most recent setback from his second ACL surgery makes it unlikely the Giants are going to be picking up that bonus and honoring that contract next year. And why would you bother sending to injured reserve a player whose rights you are not interested in keeping the following year?
Look, I'm just spitballing here, but if the Giants were to waive Thomas with an injury settlement (at least equal to his base salary of $1 million) then he would be a free agent and able to return later this season when his knee is ready to go.
Obviously, it exposes him to free agency (and everyone here is still a bit battle scarred from the Jake Ballard incident), but not only would Thomas not be subject to waivers, it's unlikely he would draw a ton of interest given his situation. No reason to think he and the Giants wouldn't welcome each other with open arms when Thomas was ready to go (especially if the injury settlement is amicable).
We're not saying this is going to happen (in fact, we think the Giants will probably just carry Thomas as long as possible and as long as there's hope he'll be able to contribute. After all, there's eight guys who wear street clothes to games every week anyway). But this injury settlement scenario is just another possibility in the "injured reserve" or "wait for him" debate.
One that would allow Thomas and the team to have their cake and eat it too.
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