Linebacker Zach Thomas is headed home to Texas to play for the Dallas Cowboys in the state where he was a high school and college standout before 12 seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
Thomas has reached an agreement on a one-year, $3 million deal with the Cowboys, agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed Saturday night. Thomas, a seven-time Pro Bowler who missed much of last season because of concussions and migraines, has already taken a physical for the Cowboys.
"It is going to be signed in the next couple of days," Rosenhaus said.
The deal includes a $1 million base salary, a $1 million signing bonus and a $1 million incentive-based bonus based on playing time that Rosenhaus said should be easily attained.
Thomas was released Feb. 14 by the Dolphins, part of the massive rebuilding project being overseen in Miami by new vice president of football operations Bill Parcells, the former Cowboys coach. The Dolphins were 1-15 last season.
The 34-year-old linebacker said after his release from the Dolphins that he planned to play with another team next season, more than likely one that can contend for a Super Bowl title - and give Thomas a chance at winning his first championship.
"I am healthy and look forward to playing in 2008, but will always consider myself a Miami Dolphin," Thomas said then.
Thomas also visited with the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints. All three teams offered similar deals, but Thomas wanted to play in Texas.
"It was a huge factor, a gigantic factor," Rosenhaus said. "At the end, it was the difference. It's a great opportunity for him."
Thomas is a native of Pampa, Texas, and then went to Texas Tech. The Dolphins selected Thomas 154th overall out of Tech in 1996. The 5-foot-11 linebacker then led Miami in tackles 10 times and is the team's career leader in that category with 1,642. His 168 games in Miami are the most by a defensive player.
After missing only 13 games in his first 11 years, and having a career-best 165 tackles in 2006, Thomas missed 11 games last season. He still had 52 tackles in the five games he played.
Thomas missed two games in September because of a concussion. Then after Miami's loss to New England on Oct. 21, his vehicle was rear-ended on Florida's Turnpike. He didn't play again and was placed on injured reserve against his wishes in December because of nagging migraines, an aftereffect of the car crash.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press