J.T. Thomas is back on the field, but will he be on the 53-man roster? The linebacker, activated from PUP on Tuesday, has played just 13 games in two seasons with the Giants and now must carve a spot out for himself on the team.
“That’s the whole point of training camp is right now guys are fighting for roles,” Ben McAdoo said on Tuesday. “There are a few players that have some roles, obviously, but he’s one of the guys that’s going to get out there and have a chance to fight for a role.”
That means proving that he can contribute. The linebacker room is crowded, but not impenetrable. Mark Herzlich has been sidelined with a stinger for about a week, Keenan Robinson is returning from a concussion, and second-year player B.J. Goodson left Tuesday’s practice with a back injury (McAdoo did not seem too concerned about it, but backs can be tricky to deal with).
There is also the matter of Thomas’ contract. He signed a three-year, $10 million deal when he came to the team and is owed a base salary of $2.97 million in this, the last year of the contract. His cap number is $4 million, the ninth-highest on the team.
And of course, he has yet to actually do anything this year. Coming off an ACL tear in the opener last season, Thomas was on the field Tuesday, his first day cleared for action, but worked mostly with trainers on the side. It was not much different than what he was doing while on PUP, other than his wearing shoulder pads during the workout.
“He’s working through individuals and we’ll have a plan to build him up as we go,” McAdoo said. “We’re not going to rush into anything with him.”
McAdoo said Thomas likely won’t play Monday against the Browns, but there will be two preseason games for him to participate in if he is ready by then.
“He’s got a chance to build himself up, play some meaningful games as we go,” McAdoo said. “He’ll have a chance to play here shortly.”
Whether that’s enough to play here for the season remains to be seen.