A league source has informed Niners Nation that San Francisco 49ers practice defensive back Michael Thomas will sign with the Miami Dolphins as soon as tomorrow. As a member of the 49ers practice squad, Thomas has been a member of the 49ers, but he also is allowed to sign with another team's 53-man roster at any point. He would not be allowed to sign with the Dolphins practice squad at this point in time.
Instead, Thomas will receive at least three weeks salary at the 53-player minimum even if he is waived by the Dolphins prior to earning that amount. Additionally, the Dolphins will be required to count him on their 53-man roster for three games, even if he is terminated, traded, or assigned via waivers to another club. That provides at least a little short-term roster security.
Thomas has spent a season and a half on the 49ers practice squad. He first signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent following the 2012 NFL Draft. He was released in final roster cuts, and joined he practice squad. He signed a reserve/future contract after the 2012 season, and competed in training camp as a potential nickel and safety option. He was released in final roster cuts and signed with the practice squad shortly after.
I have to say, this is a bit disappointing. I felt that Thomas had the makings of a solid nickel back. The 49ers have depth at cornerback, but with Tarell Brown up for free agency, and Carlos Rogers potentially looking at a contract restructuring, Thomas likely had his best chance at a roster spot in the coming year. In fact, the 49ers likely thought the same thing, as he was given an increase in his practice squad salary last month.
But you can't blame him for wanting a chance to show his stuff sooner rather than later. I think he had a strong chance at a roster spot next August, but with this move, he'll likely get playing time a lot sooner. And prorated NFL salaries are nothing to sneeze at compared to practice squad money. Best of luck as he moves on with his NFL career.
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