The San Francisco 49ers have invested an incredible amount of draft capital in their defensive line.
A little over a month after shipping out former first-rounder DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis in exchange for a first-round pick, the 49ers traded back one spot in the first round and selected -- surprise -- a defensive lineman, South Carolina's Javon Kinlaw. Their future might not include another first-round pick for much longer.
Thomas has appeared in 46 games, tallying 93 tackles and six sacks in that time. Like another former first-rounder who was traded Friday, Charles Harris, Thomas has struggled to make an impact in his first three seasons. With plenty of additional resources invested along the defensive line, San Francisco doesn't need to keep Thomas around at a higher salary to see if he can fulfill his potential.
If he proves to be worth the first-round pick in his fourth season, the 49ers can still offer an extension before he hits free agency. But as of now, Thomas will have to show it in his play before talking dollars.