It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins are in the market for a tight end. Jordan Cameron failed to live up to expectations in his two seasons with the team and currently, second-year man Thomas Duarte, who went without a catch in his rookie season, is the only other player at the position who isn’t a free agent.
The answer as to whom would fill the void may have been answered early this week. After it was reported that Miami would be cutting Branden Albert, the Jacksonville Jaguars emerged as a potential suitor for the former Pro Bowl left tackle. In exchange, the Jaguars look to be willing to part ways with tight end Julius Thomas.
After consecutive Pro Bowl seasons with the Denver Broncos, Thomas — like Cameron in Miami — never lived up to his expectations in Jacksonville. A lot of factors went into Thomas’ struggles from injuries to a lackluster supporting cast to playing through the regression of quarterback Blake Bortles.
A change of scenery in heading south may do Thomas and the Dolphins some good. Here are five reasons why the addition of Thomas would be a good thing for Miami:
1. He’s an upgrade from Jordan Cameron
Despite missing 11 games to injury over the last two seasons, Thomas was still far more productive than Cameron. In two more games than Cameron over the last two years, Thomas had 29 more catches for 290 more yards receiving and five more touchdown catches. Thomas also had a higher catch percentage.
2. He fits well with other talented skill players
Thomas is a legitimate No. 1 tight end, who meshed well with a good receiving corps that included Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker in his time in Denver. That’s something the Dolphins definitely have with Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and (should he be resigned) Kenny Stills.
3. Thomas has played for winners
Thomas was also a member of four playoff teams during his time in Denver, so he has been around a winning environment. That seems to be what Miami is looking to build on a consistent basis. The Dolphins won 10 games last season and reached the playoffs for the first time in eight years with a young roster.
4. He’s familiar with Adam Gase
Credited with much of Miami’s success in 2016 was first-year head coach Adam Gase. Fortunately for Thomas, Gase is a man he knows well. Gase was the Broncos’ offensive coordinator during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. In each of those two campaigns, Thomas made the Pro Bowl.
5. Ryan Tannehill likes to throw to tight ends and is an upgrade from Bortles
Aside from staying healthy, the other major concern for Thomas would be how he meshed with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The preliminary synopsis seems to be pretty well. In each of Tannehill’s first five seasons in Miami, Dolphins’ tight ends have combined for at least 50 catches. Anthony Fasano in 2012 and Charles Clay in each of the next two seasons did that by themselves. While Thomas seems to be an upgrade from Cameron, Tannehill is also an upgrade from Bortles. Last season, Tannehill completed a higher percentage and averaged nearly a yard and a half more per pass attempt than Bortles. His passer rating was also nearly 15 points higher.
Mike Ferguson is a sports writer and reporter for several publications and the Pro Football Spot lead writer for the Miami Dolphins. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson