The Jaguars are doing their best to “keep their own” and have locked up current #1 receiver Mike Thomas through 2015, with a 3 year contract that will pay Thomas $18 million, netting a nice sum of $6 million per year and $9 guaranteed money. Thomas has emerged as a credible threat and multi-use weapon for the Jaguars, excelling in punt returns, screens, end-arounds, and all of the conventional short, intermediate, and deep passing routes. Last year saw Thomas gain 820 yards and 4 TD’s on 66 receptions and through four games in 2011, has remained a steady target for Blaine Gabbert and Luke McCown.
This is a wise move by the front office, because wide receivers are always highly coveted on the open free agent market and had Thomas been allowed to reach Unrestricted Free Agency, he almost surely would have an inflated price tag. Without a true #1/Split-End type receiver, Thomas has taken on that role in Jacksonville in 2011 (and for much of 2010, with Mike Sims-Walker often sidelined or invisible). The Jaguars will undoubtedly be pursuing help at the position in the 2012 draft and likely will be targeting a “stud” receiver in the 1st or 2nd round, which would only make Thomas more effective. With his ample speed, elusiveness, and sturdy frame, he is most dangerous when receiving the ball in space; with a big, dominant wideout spreading the field deep, Thomas could have even more room to break big plays with the ball in his hands.
Mike Thomas has also become a go-to interview after games, frequently wearing his emotions on his sleeve. He’s a naturally upbeat and confident guy and brings a healthy “swagger” to the Jaguars’ locker room. I’m glad to hear he’ll be sticking around for awhile because there’s a lot more this guy can do once Blaine Gabbert has developed and a legitimate wideout is lined up across from him.
- Andrew Hofheimer