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Thomas will bring value to Kansas City

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Last year, when Zach Thomas signed with Dallas, it was considered a huge coup for the Cowboys.

This year, the fact that Thomas has inked a deal with Kansas City on a quiet holiday weekend has not been met with much fanfare.

There is no denying that Thomas, who will turn 36 in September, is nearing the end of his career. The middle linebacker is no longer an elite player. But Kansas City shouldn't be criticized for adding Thomas, who signed a one-year contract for $2 million.

He will bring value to the Chiefs. Kansas City fans shouldn't expect a Pro Bowl season from Thomas, but they should expect him to make an impact. He started 14 games for Dallas and ended up with 94 tackles. That's solid work.

But that's Thomas. He will always give maximum effort, and because of that, he will get his share of tackles.

But new Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli brought in Thomas for more than his on-field contributions. Thomas will pair with fellow veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel, who was acquired in a trade from New England in February, to give Kansas City, great leadership in the middle of the field. This is another indication of Kansas City doing things the Patriots' way.

Pioli, of course, came from New England earlier this year. The Patriots always loved older, savvy linebackers. The addition of Thomas to Kansas City is much like when the Patriots brought Junior Seau to New England.

It's about setting the tone and in the form of Thomas and Vrabel, the Chiefs now have great leadership on defense. This is vital since Kansas City is one the youngest teams in the league.

With Thomas now in the fold, perhaps the Chiefs will pursue his brother-in law, Jason Taylor. The defensive end is a free agent and he'd give Kansas City a much needed pass rushing presence. Taylor and Thomas starred together for years in Miami.