Although his trade from Jacksonville to Miami won't take effect until the new league year starts on March 9, Thomas won't be a stranger within the offensive scheme used in his new locale. Under the instruction of offensive coordinator Adam Gase in 2013 and 2014, Thomas posted 12 touchdowns for the Broncos in both campaigns, helping him land a five-year, $46 million contract with the Jaguars in March of 2015. Gase will soon be embarking upon his second offseason program with the Dolphins, only this time he'll have a familiar face to introduce to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. If fellow tight ends Jordan Cameron (concussion) and Dion Sims both depart in free agency, Thomas will assume top TE duties and seek a bounce-back season.
Thomas managed just 76 receptions for 736 yards and nine touchdowns in two seasons after signing a five-year, $46 million deal with the Jaguars in 2015, but in joining the Dolphins, he'll be reunited with coach Adam Gase, who served as his offensive coordinator with the Broncos in 2013 and 2014. Thomas scored 12 touchdowns in both of those seasons, emerging as a top fantasy tight end along the way. Although having Peyton Manning as his quarterback obviously helped his stock significantly at the time, Thomas should like his chances of rebounding in his new setting, where he could cement himself as Miami's starting tight end given that Jordan Cameron (concussion) and Dion Sims are both potential free-agent departures this offseason.
Thomas has fallen flat of expectations since signing a five-year, $46 million contract with the Jaguars in 2015, but with the tight-end needy Dolphins committed to moving on from Albert and his hefty salary, and the Jaguars in need of a new left tackle, a potential swap seems to make sense for both parties. With both Jordan Cameron (concussion) and Dion Sims hitting the free-agent market, Thomas would have a clear path to starting tight end reps in Miami, where he'd be reunited with head coach Adam Gase, who helped engineer Thomas' wildly successful 2013 and 2014 seasons as the Broncos' offensive coordinator. While that change of scenery could help Thomas' fantasy outlook, his proposed move to the Dolphins could be contingent on how Albert's visit with the Jaguars goes Monday, making the situation worthwhile to monitor.
Thomas was due $3 million if he was still on the roster at 4 PM ET, and the deadline came and went, signaling the Jaguars' commitment to the tight end for the upcoming season. They only would've saved $2 million by cutting him, so that doesn't seem to have been a legitimate possibility anyway. However, they can save $7 million by releasing him next season. Unless Thomas can put together a healthy and productive 2017 campaign, his days in Jacksonville may be numbered. The former All-Pro tight end has only played in 21 of 32 games as a member of the organization.
Thomas (back) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, Ryan O'Halloran of Jacksonville.com reports.
Thomas injured his back in Week 11 against the Lions, but hadn't really found a groove in the Jaguars' offense before then anyway and will finish his second season in Jacksonville with 30 receptions for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Looking ahead, it's entirely possible Thomas has played his last game for the Jags, considering the team could save nearly $5 million in cap space by releasing him in the offseason. In his absence, Ben Koyack and Neal Sterling figure to handle tight end duties for the remainder of the 2016 campaign.
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