Is signing Julius Thomas going to turn the Jacksonville Jaguars into Super Bowl contenders or even a playoff team, but going all out on the best tight end in free agency shows the franchise is about giving Blake Bortles all the tools he could possibly need to continue and develop as a quarterback.
Thomas, coming off two very good seasons with the Denver Broncos, is about to sign a multiyear that will earn him on average $9 million a season. The Broncos were interested in re-signing him, but with their new scheme involving more blocking from the tight ends than catching (something Thomas isn’t great at), they weren’t about to pay him that much.
Thomas is still being courted by one team trying to beat the Jaguars before the ban of signing is lifted, but it’s hard to believe anyone will go as high as what the Jags are paying him. Thomas caught 108 passes for 1,277 yards and 24 touchdowns the past two seasons, with Peyton Manning throwing to him.
The Jags started Bortles in 13 games last season, with the rookie completing 58.9% of his passes for 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Not great, but they’ve seen worse in Jacksonville.
One obvious problem was his receiving targets – he didn’t really have any impressive names to help him out. Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee aren’t bad players, but the Jaguars need an upgrade in that area, like every other one as well.
Teams often don’t do well without a quarterback to get behind. The Jaguars investing in Thomas means they believe that Bortles just might be the one to lead them out of the AFC South cellar which they’ve been occupying for a very long time.