Thomas gives Jags freedom at No. 8

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

What does Tra Thomas have left? The Jacksonville Jaguars think about three years. They've signed him as their new left tackle. He'll replace Khalif Barnes, a free agent the team has not attempted to re-sign.

I'm a bit surprised, because the Jaguars sent out signals after they were connected to Thomas that their contact with him was very informal. It turns out they were very interested.

The positive spin on this is that the Jaguars now have great freedom with the No. 8 pick in the draft. Before they nabbed Thomas, they were expected to draft a left tackle at that spot.

Now, they could go in several different directions: defensive tackle (will B.J. Raji be there?), wide receiver (Jeremy Maclin?), still go with an offensive lineman or look purely at the best available player.

I presume the Jaguars think Thomas, a three-time Pro Bowler -- will be a good locker room guy, and this move amounts to a homecoming for him. Thomas was a two-way tackle at DeLand High School, which is a bit over 100 miles south of Jacksonville.