Following their Week 2 win over the New York Jets, the San Francisco 49ers were the walking wounded. The Niners lost several players to injury that Sunday, including defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.
The third-overall pick from the 2017 NFL Draft suffered a torn ACL against the Jets and was done for the season. Thomas is eligible to become a free agent this offseason after San Francisco elected not to pick up his fifth-year option.
Thomas held an AMA on Bleacher Report and touched on a few different subjects, including if he would like to be back in the Bay Area for the 2021 season (h/t Keiana Martin):
“If the deal is right, I would love to,” responded Thomas. “I love what they stand for.”
The 25-year-old had a cap hit of $8.7 million last season and would have to take a substantial pay cut for him to be with the 49ers next season.
In one of his first significant moves as general manager, John Lynch traded back one spot to pick Thomas No. 3 in 2017, but Solly has failed to live up to expectations. He has recorded 95 tackles and just 6 sacks since becoming a pro.
When San Francisco turned the corner to become a contender in 2019, and the defensive line became elite, Thomas fell down the pecking order. He played greater than 50% of the defensive snaps just three times in 16 games during the 2019 season. Those numbers came down when the stakes were the highest in the playoffs, where Thomas’ high was playing 37% of the defensive snaps in the blowout win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game of the 2019 season.
Pro Football Focus has 2018 as Thomas’ best year, where it graded him at 62.8. He did well against the run his first two seasons, but his lack of pass-rushing skills have been evident from day one.
Lynch and co. have several decisions to make with the defensive line, which is considered one of the team’s strong points. Spotrac project’s Thomas’ market value at $5.6 million heading into free agency, which is probably too rich for the Niners.
Thomas dealt with tragedy in 2018 when his sister, Ella, committed suicide. He has been an advocate for people dealing with mental health issues and has been open about his personal struggles.
Even if it’s not with the Niners, hopefully Solly can continue his NFL career and find some success at his next stop.