According to multiple sources yesterday - the first being Omar Kelly with the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Dolphins are hoping to work a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars that would send Branden Albert to the Jags for TE Julius Thomas.
This would reunite Thomas with current Dolphins HC Adam Gase, who did wonders with Thomas back as the Broncos OC from 2013-2014.
In these two seasons, Thomas had 152 targets and 24 TD´s, by far the highest totals for these two categories in his six year career.
Assuming the Dolphins and Jaguars are able to renegotiate and restructure these two players´ contracts and execute the trade, the biggest question surrounding Thomas´ time in Miami will be his ability to stay healthy. The 6-feet-5, 250 pound TE has failed to play a full season in six years, playing his most games in one year back in 2013, when he managed to play in 14 games.
If the Dolphins are able to bring in Thomas and re-sign Dion Sims, they would have a formidable TE duo. Sims excels in run blocking and the play action passing game, and Thomas is a nightmare match up for defenses, able to play in the slot and on the outside. Gase is most likely drooling at the mouth to have both TE´s on the field at once, as we know he likes to run two TE sets.
Bringing in Thomas would also alter the team´s 2017 draft plan. The Dolphins have been linked to TE´s in multiple mock drafts up to this point (which are about as likely as unfolding accurately before Free Agency as a winning lottery ticket). Many ´´experts´´ and analysts alike have the Dolphins taking David Njoku or O.J. Howard at 22nd overall.
The odds of Howard dropping out of the Top 15 are almost zero, and if the Dolphins are successful in bringing in Thomas, the likelihood of them drafting a TE in the first two rounds, let alone the first, are likely to reach zero as well.
This means that with Thomas likely comes the Dolphins locking in on a defensive player at 22nd overall, barring a top offensive players dropping out of the Top 15 (such as Howard).
The Dolphins, who currently have holes at virtually every position on defense, need to go Best Player Available on the defensive side with their first round pick. The only offensive pick that would make sense at 22 is Alabama´s O.J. Howard. Otherwise, look for the Dolphins to address the LB or DE position.
The Dolphins draft plan weighs greatly on whether or not they are able to bring in Thomas. Remember that an official deal could not be carried out until March 9th at the earliest.
Both teams continue to work together to iron out the details of both contracts.