One of the big questions entering the 2017 NFL offseason for the Jacksonville Jaguars is the future of tight end Julius Thomas and that decision could come at the end of this week. Thomas was signed by the Jaguars in the 2015 offseason and given a massive five-year, $46 million contract in free agency. His start with the Jaguars got off slow, as he hurt his hand in the preseason and missed the beginning of the 2015 season. It then took a while for Thomas to finally start getting worked into the offense.
After the Jaguars surprising explosive offense in 2015, it was expected Thomas would finally find his way into the passing game in 2016, but that never really materialized and his season was once again ended abruptly with a back injury. Thomas thus far has been a massive free agency disappointment, even though he's had surprisingly good touchdown numbers for the Jaguars.
As mentioned, the big question is if the Jaguars will go ahead and cut ties with Thomas, chalking it up as a free agency bust, or give him one more season in a new offense with a new coach at the helm. Typically a decision like that can wait a while, but part of Thomas' salary becomes fully guaranteed on February 10 if he's still on the roster (this Friday).
Thomas carries an $8.6 million cap hit for 2017 and if he's released prior to Feb. 10, the Jaguars will save just under $5 million in cap room. The team isn't exactly hurting for cap space, but if Thomas is on the roster on or after Feb. 10, that means the team is on the hook for $3 million of his 2017 salary if he makes the roster or not.
Maybe I'm not understanding it or my math is off, but the Jaguars are on the hook for Thomas for just over $3 million if he's on the roster or not, so I'm not sure how much of a factor that the guaranteed salary has going forward.