10 worst free agent signings in Jacksonville Jaguars franchise history

A fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
A fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /
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Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas (80) at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Worst free agent signing in Jacksonville Jaguars history: Julius Thomas

It’s easy to forget it now but Peyton Manning made everyone around him better. Let’s call it the “Manning effect”. Whoever played with him or ‘coached’ him would see his reputation rise considerably. Look no further than Jim Boob Cooter, his coaching career got traction because he happened to be an offensive assistant for the Denver Broncos in 2013, Manning’s most productive NFL season.

That year, Manning completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 5,477 yards with a jaw-dropping 55 touchdowns and just five interceptions. But because Cooter happened to be a bystander, he became the Detroit Lions quarterback coach in 2014 and their offensive coordinator the following season. Once the Manning effect wore off, Cooter came crashing down and had to work his way back into the coaching ranks.

Do you know who else benefited from the Manning effect? Tight end Julius Thomas. A fourth-round pick by the Broncos in 2011, the college basketball player hauled in one pass in his first two NFL seasons. But once the Sheriff took over, his production rose considerably, catching 108 passes for 1,277 yards with 24 touchdowns in 2013 and 2014 combined.

Thomas’ productive stretch led to a five-year contract worth $46 million. However, going from Manning to a young Blake Bortles had a negative impact on his production, and had a combined 76 receptions for 736 yards with nine touchdowns in his two-year stint with the Black and Teal.

Although Thomas went on to join the Miami Dolphins in 2017, he didn’t do much of note and ended up hanging up the cleats not long after.