Jacksonville Jaguars: Julius Thomas out the door? Good riddance

Julius Thomas hasn’t been terrible for the Jacksonville Jaguars but he has been a disappointment. Nobody will be too sad to see him go.

In predicting roster moves for all 32 teams, ESPN’s Michael DiRocco predicted that tight end Julius Thomas would be shown the door by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rotoworld went on to say it is expected.

This shouldn’t be shocking for anybody watching the Jags over the last two seasons.

The big question with Thomas joining the Jaguars was whether he was a product of a Peyton Manning-led offense or if he was the kind of dominant receiving tight end that could be a weapon and elevate the offense around him. After 736 yards and nine touchdowns over two seasons, it’s becoming more and more clear that it was Manning and the Broncos that made Thomas look great.

It was expected that Thomas’ production would take a hit with the Jags. It is rare for a tight end to nab 12 touchdowns in back to back seasons (something Thomas did in 2013 and 2014). But the Jags were hopeful he could be more than just a minor threat in their offense. Five touchdowns in 2015 on one of the NFL’s most prolific passing attacks and just four in 2016 is a major dip in production, not just a slight drop off.

DiRocco hit the nail on the head in his write up:

He has been a disappointment since signing a five-year, $46 million ($24 million guaranteed) contract in March 2015 and has missed 11 games in two seasons due to various injuries…He also has the fourth-highest cap figure ($8.3 million) in 2017.

On a team starved for productive talent, it makes little sense to retain a player who is both overpaid for his production and unable to see the field consistently. The Jags knew they were significantly overpaying for a decent tight end but they ended up way overpaying for a benchwarmer.

Whether the Jags misused Thomas or not, it’s clear he hasn’t been a good fit. While quarterback Blake Bortles forged strong connections with wide receivers Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee over the last two seasons, Thomas and Bortles have never been on the same page. Drops and miscommunication seemed to plague the Bortles-Thomas connection that was supposed to be critical to offensive success.

If the Jags do part ways with Thomas it wouldn’t be shocking. The production was never going to match the pay and there are other options worth pursuing instead. The offense outgrew the need for Thomas as well.

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It was nice to have him while he was here, but it’s doubtful he’ll be missed by many fans. This was a deal for the money and both parties knew it.

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