Julius Thomas Potential Destinations Rumored to Be Oakland, Seattle


Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas is having a fallout with his current team as free agency nears, and it appears that the two time 12 touchdown red zone threat will be testing the open market on the afternoon of March 10 with his eyes on a payday that suits his talents. Thomas will also be a highly sought after talent even if he is expecting to be paid as one of the top tight ends in the league, his two seasons of production with Peyton Manning justifying the market of the former college basketball player turned NFL tight end in the path of Antonio Gates.

More from Las Vegas Raiders Free Agency

Thomas will also enter a tight end class in free agency that lacks other elite options, with serviceable talents in Owen Daniels and Jermaine Gresham out there, but no talent that matches his levels of production on his rookie contract where he has risen as one of the most reliable red zone threats in the league. Compiling touchdowns despite an ankle injury suffered in the second half of his contract year hobbling him down the stretch and preventing him from besting his 2013 production as the Broncos offense stalled with a worn down Thomas along with Peyton Manning’s regression in the late stages of 2014.

That late season injury and the downturn in production won’t turn away two suitors according to reports coming out of Denver as there appears to be a willing list of teams willing to splash on Thomas for the ability to have someone who can give them production in the endzone. One of those teams being the Oakland Raiders, and another team who tried to trade their wide receiver for Thomas during the 2014 season being identified as early frontrunners for the tight end.

According to NFL analyst and Denver radio host Benjamin Allbright, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders will be Thomas’ two rumored destinations, with the Seahawks having an in with Thomas based on Pete Carroll’s coaching relationship with Thomas’ dad when Carroll coached at Pacific University in the early 80’s.

It is interesting that the Seahawks allegedly tried to trade for Thomas with an ill-fated attempt to dump Percy Harvin on the Broncos for the tight end, a move that even at the time would have been lopsided with Denver as Harvin was being forced out of the door by Seattle. Now the Seahawks, who have just upwards of $23 million in cap space before a potential new contract for Marshawn Lynch, will have to make their one free agency splash on Thomas if they are able to get him to take a chance at making a Super Bowl run in the Pacific Northwest.

More from Just Blog Baby

While it is debatable how much of a factor Carroll coaching Thomas’ dad back in 1983 will be in the Seahawks attempting to acquire the red zone threat to pair with their promising tight end in Luke Willson, the biggest factor for Seattle will be pairing a considerable payday with the chance to compete for a Super Bowl, something that the Raiders cannot provide in their pitch to Thomas. The Seahawks are built to win now, and if they can provide the funds they could easily be the favorites to land Thomas if they are truly interested in his services.

However the Seahawks are hamstrung by the salary cap as Marshawn Lynch wants a restructured deal that pays him more money than his current salary and players such as Byron Maxwell (unrestricted free agent) and Jermaine Kearse (restricted free agent) need to be addressed as well. Seattle will likely have the money to drop on Thomas if they want to make that their big signing of the spring, but the move would continue to complicate their cap situation with their upcoming megadeal to Russell Wilson for his second NFL contract due to hit the books after the 2015 season.

The Raiders have no such problems with the cap, but they will still need to sell Thomas on the fact that Oakland is a viable destination if other teams are willing to pay him the money he wants. That may be difficult if a long list of suitors lines up for Thomas come March 10 as general manager Reggie McKenzie has had problems convincing top tier free agents to come to Oakland since he has had the cap space to splash on big names. In 2014 Desean Jackson jilted the Raiders to go to Washington (a move that didn’t exactly work out for Jackson), and if Seattle is going to be hovering around Thomas a similar situation may just happen in this case if McKenzie can’t sell Thomas on what Oakland has to offer over a contender.