Are the Jaguars All In For Julius Thomas?
It appears that Denver Broncos tight end, should he test the free agent market, will have two strong suitors in the Atlanta Falcons and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams are in need of a dependable option from the position after a less than stellar performance in 2014.
Chris Wesseling of NFL.com reports that the Broncos have not said whether or not they intend to make an offer to Thomas. The franchise also has to worry about Demaryius Thomas and whether the soon-to-be free agent wide receiver will re-sign with the team. The Broncos also have to deal with whether Peyton Manning will be back behind center for another playoff run.
Against that backdrop, the Broncos have scheduled a meeting with tight end James Casey, recently released by the Eagles.
Once Thomas reaches free agency on March 10, Jacksonville and Atlanta are viewed as likely landing spots, Wesseling said.
The Jaguars will be "among the most aggressive pursuers," writes Mike Klis of the Denver Post. The Florida Times-Union agrees that Thomas is a "perfect fit" for a Jags offense desperately in need of a premier red-zone threat.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes the Falcons will also be interested in Thomas, which jibes with scuttlebutt at the NFL Scouting Combine late last week.
Levine Toilolo proved to be an unworthy successor to Tony Gonzalez last season, while Thomas became the first tight end in NFL history with at least 12 touchdowns in back-to-back years.
The Jaguars have Marcedes Lewis on the roster, but may become a cap casualty due to his 2015 salary. The first round pick in 2006 out of UCLA was a Pro Bowl player in 2010, but has not come close to living up to those expectations since and was often injured last season, losing playing time to Clay Harbor, who could be a cheaper, more reliable option for the team, should they not be able to sign Thomas or another free agent replacement.
"Skill-set wise as a tight end, he gives you everything," NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah opined last November. "He can run after the catch, he can post you up in the middle of the field, he has a great feel in the red zone. He's an outstanding tight end and a big-time weapon for Peyton Manning."
As a Pro Bowl-caliber talent in the prime of his career, Thomas is exactly the kind of player who should be on the radar of rebuilding teams with salary-cap space to spare.