After two injury laden and disappointing years in Jacksonville with the always-enigmatic Blake Bortles, Julius Thomas is headed down Florida’s coast to South Beach.
Per various media reports, Jacksonville traded Thomas for Miami’s 2017 seventh round pick. Oddly, after rumors swirled the two teams were discussing an exclusive Thomas-for-Albert deal, Miami swapped LT Branden Albert for the Jags’ 2018 seventh rounder in a separate exchange.
Turning 29 in June and having missed 16 games due to various injuries over the past two years, Thomas is trying to re-start his career in Miami with former Broncos’ OC Adam Gase. There is no question Thomas’ two best seasons came in Denver. However, there is question as to who deserves credit for Julius Thomas’ initial breakout. You may have heard about this quarterback named Peyton Manning.
When he was healthy, Thomas was a touchdown machine with Peyton Manning at the controls in Denver. Thomas wrecked opposing linebacking/safety corps for 24 touchdowns in 27 contests (0.88 per game) with Manning – which is a scoring rate usually reserved for Rob Gronkowski alone (0.77 TDs/game in his career).
The last two years have been a little different.
With Blake Bortles, Julius Thomas scored nine touchdowns in 21 games (0.43 per contest) and was woefully ineffective for the majority of his tenure in Duval County. Efficiency metrics are tricky to predict, but it’s worth noting Thomas gained a near league-average 1.34 receiving yards per route run while in Denver with Manning. Thomas gained 1.03 yards per route in Jacksonville, which is in the bottom-5 in that particular metric for tight ends. Blake Bortles’ own issues certainly had something to do with Thomas’ lack of production.
However, Thomas is on to a new team. Let’s take a quick peek at Thomas’ open opportunity in Miami.
Swimming With Dolphins
Here’s how often Ryan Tannehill has targeted his most utilized tight end throughout the past five years and their subsequent PPR points per game finish: