Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Jags jumped too soon with Thomas' pact
By Paul Kuharsky
The Jaguars have plenty of cap room and don’t need to save money.
But that’s the biggest benefit to their dealing receiver and return man Mike Thomas to the Detroit Lions. I confirmed a bit ago the Jaguars got a draft pick for him, though I don’t know what yet. It’s safe presuming it’s not high.
Thomas has become a non-entity for the Jags, with all of 13 catches for 80 yards this season.
I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see a resurgence for him playing with an upgrade at quarterback, and moving from Blaine Gabbert to Matthew Stafford is a nice improvement for a receiver.
The Jaguars drafted Thomas with a fourth-round pick out of Arizona in 2009, then fell in love with him and rewarded him too quickly.
Early during the 2011 season they signed him to a five-year, $19 million extension with $9 million guaranteed, including a $6 million signing bonus. The contract amounted to a bigger annual average than Jordy Nelson got from Green Bay at roughly the same time. Thomas’ production hasn’t approached Nelson’s.
The Lions aren’t absorbing a lot of the number -- as Thomas’ remaining base salaries total roughly $8.6 million for 2013-15.
The Jaguars like Cecil Shorts and have Justin Blackmon, Laurent Robinson and Shorts as their top three receivers going forward. Robinson was a pricey free agent addition who’s contributed nothing so far and has dealt with multiple concussions.
They recently signed veteran return specialist and receiver Michael Spurlock and he is now working as their primary return man, though coach Mike Mularkey wasn’t happy with Spurlock’s decision-making in the loss at Green Bay.
Jacksonville hosts Detroit this weekend, so if Thomas plays he’ll be going against some familiar defenders.