The Dolphins saved $ 6.6 million in cap space by releasing Thomas after one season.
The Miami Dolphins trimmed a significant amount off of the contract of Julius Thomas when he was acquired via trade in 2017, but he still lasted just one season in South Beach before he was released Wednesday to clear cap space, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Just three years ago, Thomas was one of the top free agents on the market after back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons with the Denver Broncos. His 12-touchdown campaigns in 2013 and 2014 earned him a five-year, $ 46 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
That lasted just two years before he was traded to the Dolphins for a late-round draft pick. His tenure in Miami was cut short after he finished the year with just 388 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 2017.
Why did the Dolphins cut bait with Thomas?
Thomas, 29, was once the most dangerous red zone threat in the NFL. But in the last three seasons he dealt with a finger injury that cost him the beginning of the 2015 season, a tailbone fracture that ended his 2016, and a foot injury that ended his year again in 2017.
The tight end’s renegotiated contract with the Dolphins was due to count $ 6.6 million against the cap in 2018. By releasing him, Miami will recoup all of that and carry no dead money.
Now several years removed from his best football, Thomas won’t get a blockbuster deal again. But he’s still among the top free agent tight ends on the market with Jimmy Graham already landing with the Green Bay Packers.
Thomas is still a talented enough contributor to quickly find his fourth landing spot in five years, but don’t expect to see the 2014 version of the tight end again.