While all the talk recently has been about the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff, rightly so, a headline hit Twitter on Tuesday evening that generated a lot of buzz. It involved ESPN Jaguars beat writer Michael DiRocco and tight end Julius Thomas, who DiRocco indicated he thought might be a cap casualty during the 2017 offseason.
That doesn’t sound very crazy so why did it generate a lot of buzz? Well, because Rotoworld got very “clicky” with their headline and mischaracterized what DiRocco was saying.
Jaguars expected to cut FA bust Julius Thomas https://t.co/bzPy6ISPg2— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld_FB) January 18, 2017
That headline reads like DiRocco stated that he expected Julius Thomas to be cut by the Jaguars this offseason, but that’s not actually what DiRocco said or did. The nugget came from a piece that ran on ESPN where the 32 team writers each made a prediction for their teams for the offseason
Here is what DiRocco had to say in that specific article:
The Jaguars will not bring tight end Julius Thomas back. He has been a disappointment since signing a five-year, $46 million ($24 million guaranteed) contract in March 2015 and has missed 11 games in two seasons due to various injuries. He does have nine touchdown catches, but the Jaguars have him catching short passes and trying to turn up field and break tackles when he's more successful down the field and on seam routes. Jacksonville didn't miss him when he was out of the lineup for the final four games. He also has the fourth-highest cap figure ($8.3 million) in 2017.
I can see how this could be confused because of the first sentence, but it’s clear from the actual post that they asked their writers simply to make a prediction and it’s not even a wild prediction by DiRocco. The Jaguars may very well release Julius Thomas for the reasons DiRocco points out, but to label it as expected is quite a bit of a stretch considering the context in which the comment was made.
In my opinion, the further away from the season we get the less likely it is I believe the Jaguars will cut Thomas. The cap savings in doing so is roughly only $4.5 million, which is a drop in the bucket of the cap room the team has. If the Jaguars were more pressed against the cap or had a young promising tight end on their roster that I felt could step up and take Thomas’ spot my mind might change, but at this point they don’t. Sure Ben Koyack and Neal Sterling showed some flashes, but overall they were pretty much a non-factor. With the Jaguars in a position where it appears they need to try to win games as soon as possible, I think the value of Thomas on the roster in the hopes he can stay healthy and become productive is much more valuable than saving $4.5 million in cap room.
So, will Julius Thomas be cut? Maybe. To call it an expectation at this point however, is misguided.