The Miami Dolphins, according to reports, are finalizing a trade that will send left tackle Branden Albert to the Jaguars for tight end Julius Thomas.
The news was broke by the Sun-Sentinel’s Omar Kelly via Twitter a short while ago but it is not official yet. Both players will need to pass physicals and the Dolphins will most likely want to restructure the contract of Thomas.
Albert spoke with the Sun-Sentinel exclusively as well and said that he will not try to block any trade.
"“Why ruffle feathers when you don’t have to?” Albert told the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s the business of the game. I honestly believe where I’m going to go is the right fit. It is going to be a surprise when [the terms] comes out."
Albert was reportedly released early last week but the Dolphins put the brakes on that when it was reported that an interested team had surfaced as a trade partner. When healthy Albert is one of the best left tackles in the NFL but the problem is he has yet to play a full season in his three years with Miami.
The Dolphins drafted Laremy Tunsil in round of the draft last year and he will slide outside to take Albert’s place.
At 29 years old Julius Thomas is still a viable seam threat option in the passing game. Two years ago Thomas posted back-to-back Pro-Bowl appearances while being coached under Adam Gase in Denver. He turned those stellar seasons into a big free agent contract with the Jaguars.
Thomas was expected to be released earlier this off-season but the Jaguars opted to pay his $3 million roster bonus and leave him on the roster. If the trade is finalized the Dolphins would be on the hook for that money.
In his two seasons with Jacksonville, Thomas missed time with an elbow injury as well as a broken finger. He finished his Jaguar career (if the trade goes through) with 76 receptions for 736 yards and nine touchdowns. With Blaine Gabbert throwing him the ball.
Thomas has not finished an entire NFL season in his career. Missing at least 2 games. He has missed 16 games over the last four seasons alone.
While those numbers are not great over the span of two seasons the Dolphins have not received that much production from Dion Sims in his four-year career in Miami. Sims has 74 receptions for 699 yards and 8 touchdowns. Conversely Jordan Cameron has fared much worse than Sims although he has missed a lot of time with injuries and concussions.
For the Dolphins a trade for Thomas will fill a big off-season need and allow the team to explore other needs in free agency. Despite the uptick in draft talk surrounding the Dolphins taking a TE in round one, this would almost certainly curtail any further discussions on the subject.
The trade can not be made “official” until the start of the league new year which is 18 days away on March 9th (which also means I am way behind in my articles this month).
A reunification between Adam Gase and Julius Thomas could have a big impact on the Dolphins offense which lacks that top seam style threat from the position. It will especially help the team if they lose Kenny Stills as well but keeping Stills remains a strong desire for the Dolphins.
What it doesn’t do is leave a lot of room for Dion Sims and we will discuss that in our next article.