The Dolphins have agreed to acquire tight end Julius Thomas from the Jaguars, reports Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The Fins will send a 2017 seventh-round pick to Jacksonville for Thomas, who is traveling to Miami tomorrow for a visit and physical, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). The trade won’t become official until 4 p.m. ET on March 9, the start of the 2017 league year.
It’s no surprise that Thomas will head to Miami, which worked hard to acquire him in recent days, but the club took an unusual route to land the 28-year-old. It looked as though the Dolphins and Jaguars were set to swap left tackle Branden Albert and Thomas over the weekend, but that fell through early Monday. Jacksonville later agreed to acquire Albert in a separate deal, which the teams haven’t yet finalized.
Thomas had drawn trade interest from other teams, but the ex-Denver star will now reunite with Dolphins head coach and former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Thomas is eager to reunite with Gase, per Salguero, which is hardly a shock. From 2013-14, Gase was at the helm of a Denver attack that prominently featured Thomas, who posted the best seasons of his career during that stretch. Thomas combined for 108 catches and 24 touchdowns under Gase, and he parlayed that success into a mega-deal with the Jaguars in 2015.
Thomas didn’t live up to his five-year, $46MM contract in Jacksonville, where he missed 11 of 32 regular-season games and saw his yards per catch drop from nearly 12.0 in Denver to under 10.0. He was fairly productive otherwise, though, as he caught 76 passes and nine scores in his 21 appearances as a Jag.
As was the case in Denver and Jacksonville, Thomas will serve as Miami’s top tight end. The club seems likely to lose its No. 1 option from last season, soon-to-be free agent Dion Sims, which made finding a replacement a high priority. Thomas is under contract through 2019, but he has agreed to restructured his deal, a league source told Salguero. The Dolphins are “significantly” cutting down his remaining cap hits, which previously ranged from $8.3MM to $10.3MM. Thomas will have a chance to earn back the money he’s losing through incentives.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.