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Jaguars free agency: Julius Thomas to test FA

The Denver Broncos tight end is expected to test the open market and should command quite the contract.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars will likely be on the hunt for a top flight tight end in free agency and Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas might be one of the players they're looking at. Many thought that the Broncos would do everything in their power to keep both wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, but reports out of Denver seem to indicate Julius is going to hit the open market.

From Mike Klis of The Denver Post:

There is no meeting scheduled, however, with Frank Bauer, the agent representing Julius Thomas. The talented, but ankle-troubled tight end apparently wants to test free agency when the market opens March 10. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Broncos had offered Julius Thomas a multi-year contract worth $8 million a year back in July - a deal that would have made him the third-highest paid tight end behind only Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.

The price range for Thomas is no surprise, as when he's healthy he's a complete match up nightmare for defenses, but he's still a little raw at the position. He's a huge athlete that can run, jump and make some spectacular catches and is a big time redzone threat. The past two seasons Thomas has 24 touchdown receptions, 12 each season, but his catches and yardage were down last year as he dealt with some injuries.

A lot of people have concerns with Thomas in that he's a product of Peyton Manning, and I have some of those reservations too, but I also remember watching the Portland State tight end in person at East West Shrine Game practices back in 2011 and I was impressed with him then.

Thomas is probably going to end up being one of, if not the highest, paid tight end in the NFL and the Jaguars are one of the few teams who can do that without wrecking their salary cap and actually still have plenty of room to sign a handful of other starters. Not to mention if the Jaguars do sign someone like Thomas, they can easily mitigate some of the cap hit by releasing veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis and save $7.5 million on the cap.

I have other tight ends in free agency I would prefer to sign, but adding a talent like Thomas certainly won't hurt.