Cecil Lammey of ESPN Denver reported over the weekend that there was buzz around the NFL Combine that the Falcons and Jaguars are expected to among the suitors for Broncos free agent TE Julius Thomas.
According to Lammey, the Jaguars have “strong interest” in signing Thomas this offseason.
Earlier in the day, Mike Klis of the Denver Post offered his take on the Broncos list of free agents and mentioned that Jacksonville will be among the “most aggressive pursuers” of Thomas.
Klis previously mentioned there has been no reported progress between the two parties in recent weeks, and Thomas’ agent, Frank Bauer, makes it seem like his client is certain to reach the open market.
“The Broncos came to me, we tried to get it done, it didn’t work,” Bauer said on Friday.
As of now, there are no meetings schedule for the Broncos and Thomas’ representatives. Although that could always change.
Denver reportedly offered Thomas a five-year, $40 million contract that would have paid him an annual salary of $8 million, and left him as the No. 3 highest paid tight end in the league behind Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
Those numbers look and sound impressive, but Bauer brings up a good point, which is that the structure and guaranteed money of the deal are really what matters. From the sound of it, the guarantees weren’t all that impressive.
“The main thing was the structure,” Bauer said. “In any contract in the National Football League, it all has to do with how the guarantees are written. Are there full skill/injury/cap guarantees? Or are they conditional? There are clubs that do it the old way. And they’re getting their players done and keeping their own.
“In this case, the guarantees were too low. The guarantees were conditional.”
Thomas, 26, may have had a disappointing end to the season, but he still caught 43 passes for 489 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns over the course of 13 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 13 tight end in the league out of 67 qualifying players.
We have Thomas listed as the No. 9 player in our Top 100 Free Agents list.