The Jacksonville Jaguars signed free agent tight end Julius Thomas to a deal in free agency that will pay out $24 million in guaranteed money, which has led many to assume that the Jaguars will be parting ways with veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis.
While releasing Lewis wouldn't really be a big shock and he would save the Jaguars $6.8 million in salary cap space, essentially off setting Thomas' cap hit in 2015, the Jaguars would be better off this season holding on to Lewis.
Lewis' current deal expires at the end of the season. He's currently not a burden on your salary cap, even if the team ends up spending on someone like Demarco Murray. Plus, Lewis offers you formation flexibility to the point where you're not necessarily tipping your hand on a given play.
We all know that Julius Thomas isn't the best blocking tight end, but when he's on the field the chances are pretty good it's a passing play. With Lewis still on the roster, you can run some modified 12 personnel (two tight end sets) with Thomas split out as the "joker" or "move" tight end in the slot.
You can run the ball out of this formation, you can pass the ball, you can run some read-option concepts, etc. This gives you a lot of mismatches on the defense and you force them to make themselves vulnerable one way or another. Do you want to stick a linebacker on Thomas? A safety? If the defense lines up in nickel, you can run the ball and take advantage there. If they're in base formation you can run or pass and take advantage there.
As mentioned, with Lewis' deal expiring after the season, it makes more sense for the Jaguars to ride out that cap hit and keep Lewis on the roster than it does to cut him for savings.
Unless of course, they need the savings for some reason.