The Miami Dolphins have officially released tight end Julius Thomas.
In his one season in Miami, Thomas was fourth on the team with 41 catches and 388 yards.
The Dolphins signed Thomas to a 2-year, $12 million contract prior to last season, hoping he could rediscover some of the dynamic play he once exhibited as a Denver Broncos Pro Bowler.
Coach Adam Gase had confidence he could tap into Thomas’ past success, as they had worked together in Denver. But at the age of 29, Thomas just didn’t have the same explosiveness and athleticism he did as a younger player.
There is no doubt a series of injuries had an impact on Thomas’ decline. The Dolphins face a $2 million cap hit with the release of Thomas, with a savings of $4.6 million.
The Dolphins signed Thomas after losing tight end Dion Sims to the Bears in free agency. Sims actually finished with only 15 catches for 180 yards, though his greatest strength is blocking.
Thomas was not the blocker Sims was. And now the future of veteran tight end Anthony Fasano is uncertain. So Miami will need to add at least one pass-receiving threat at tight end in free agency or the draft.
The Dolphins shut down Thomas for the last two games of the season with a foot injury.
“You’re always going to wish that you had more production from every position, especially where we’re at right now,” coach Adam Gase said, when asked about Thomas’ season. “We wish everybody would maybe have done a little bit more up to this point. That’s what we’re really striving on this week is we’ve got two games to really make some strides here. Win this one and go from there and see what happens.”