Thornton, who turned 30 years old in June, originally began his NFL career when the Eagles signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011. Thornton then worked his way up into becoming a full-time starter with the Eagles from 2013 through 2015.
Thornton didn’t offer much as a pass rusher but he was heck of a run-stopper as a two-gapping 3-4 defensive end. He finished his Eagles career with 120 tackles, five pass deflections, four sacks, two forced fumbles, one defensive touchdown, and one safety.
The Eagles decided not to retain Thornton as Philadelphia switched back to a 4-3 defense in 2016. The Cowboys swooped in and decided to sign him in unrestricted free agency. Thornton logged a mere 12 tackles with Dallas before getting cut before the 2017 season. (Fun fact: Thornton still accounts for $2.5 million on the Cowboys’ cap this year, lol Jerry Jones. And Nolan Carroll is at $2 million!)
Thornton caught on with the Buffalo Bills after being released by Dallas. He made three starts in 15 games played last season.
As a run-stuffing role-player, Thornton unsurprisingly didn’t draw much interest on the open market this offseason. The Eagles reportedly gave him a workout but ultimately passed on signing him.
Thornton ended up signing with the 49ers last month in late July. But now he’s leaving the game entirely.
All told, Thornton had a pretty good career for an undrafted rookie free agent. His career earnings topped out at $14,171,000 over seven years.
Best of luck in retirement, Swamp.