The Atlanta Falcons are rumored to be making a splash in free agency by targeting Julius Thomas, the tight end who appears to be on his way out of Denver.
Thomas is slated to become a free agent on March 10, and the Denver Broncos do not appear to be making a move to keep their tight end. The Broncos have been meeting with the agents of their free agent players but have nothing scheduled with Frank Bauer, Thomas’ agent.
There are rumors that the Atlanta Falcons might be looking to add Thomas.
The Falcons have been in search of a playmaking tight end since the retirement of Tony Gonzalez in 2013. For five seasons, Gonzalez averaged more than 81 catches per season, and Levin Toilolo has been unable to match the production. A fourth-round pick in 2013, Toilolo caught 31 passes with one touchdown last year.
“I don’t think Levine Toilolo is the answer at tight end,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “They’ve got a tight end need.”
Thomas would certainly improve production for the Falcons. He had a breakout year in 2013, catching 65 passes for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. Though his yards dropped in 2014, Julius Thomas was still able to snag 12 more touchdowns. However, there are some red flags with Thomas as well. He missed a total of 28 games in the last four years, and after spraining his ankle last year, had just 66 yards in his final eight games. Thomas also had problems in the locker room, with an unnamed player telling BSN Denver that Thomas appeared to quit on the team at times.
“‘Julius is here to get his money and get out. That’s just how some guys are. He didn’t grow up playing this game and it’s just not in his DNA to put it all out there.’ When asked if Julius Thomas was soft like some say, he said, ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire.’ According to the teammate, Julius Thomas was healthy enough to play multiple times last season but refused to. In one instance Julius Thomas was heard saying, ‘I’m about 90% – I’m getting close.'”
If the free agency rumors are true, the Atlanta Falcons may have to open their pocketbook. Julius Thomas turned down a multi-year deal worth $8 million a year back in July, which would have made him the third-highest paid tight end behind Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.