Miami Dolphins: Julius Thomas A Bust Or Steal After Trade?
After reportedly agreeing to a trade for Julius Thomas, will the Miami Dolphins reap the benefits or live to regret the deal?
The Miami Dolphins will reportedly acquire tight end Julius Thomas from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a seventh-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft after the two teams agreed to a trade on Monday. The two teams also likely have another deal coming down the pipeline, though nothing is official until at least March 9 when the new league year begins.
Assuming all goes as planned, though, the Dolphins may have addressed a huge need at tight end. But still, the question must be asked: How does this impact the team and how does Thomas fit in Miami?
Signing Julius Thomas looked unwise when the Jacksonville Jaguars initially inked him to a deal. Subsequently, it felt as if the Dolphins should’ve had no interest in bailing them out of the signing. However, Miami only gave up a seventh-round pick and Thomas agreed to restructure his deal, making it very cap friendly by converting a good portion of his base salary into incentives based on his on-field production.
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Being that the biggest concern with Thomas is health, an incentive laden contract is ideal for the Dolphins. Since being drafted in 2011 Thomas has played in 53 games and missed 43. He agreed to restructure his contract because he wants to reunite with head coach Adam Gase, who was his offensive coordinator during his glory days with the Denver Broncos.
First and foremost, don’t get your hopes too high. He’s not going to suddenly turn into the monster he was in Denver with Gase. Although, he should be more productive than he was in Jacksonville. In 2013 and 2014, Thomas scored a whopping 24 touchdowns. The likelihood of him repeating this is slim to none. This is because, during that two-year span, Peyton Manning through 94 touchdown passes. If Ryan Tannehill manages to even throw 60 touchdowns over the next two seasons Dolphins fans would be thrilled.
On the other hand, Gase is much more impressive offensive mind than anyone in Jacksonville the past two seasons and he also is more adept at utilizing tight ends. Thomas and Gase are obviously comfortable with each other and Thomas already knows the system. Miami desperately needs a big red zone target until DeVante Parker proves he can stay healthy and live up to the expectations of his immense talent.
It’s extremely unlikely Miami would have drafted a player with more upside than Thomas in the seventh round and there is zero chance they would have drafted a tight end that could have close to as much of an immediate impact there. Most seventh-rounders don’t even make the 53-man roster.
Despite warranted apprehension at the start of talks, the deal ultimately turned out nicely for the Dolphins. They will get everything they could have wanted in the deal, both with the price to acquire him and the price of his contract. If he can stay relatively healthy, this could end up being another solid offseason move by Miami, something that has been far more common over the past few seasons than it had been over the past decade and a half. Another potent weapon at a reasonable price never hurts, especially in the red zone.