If the Buffalo Bills are willing to spend big on a free-agent tight end, they might be able to lure Julius Thomas away from the Denver Broncos. (Photo: Cary Edmondson — USA Today Sports)
BBD Contributor: Paul Banach
This article is a part of a series on potential free-agent targets for the Buffalo Bills this offseason.
When the NFL free agency period begins in March, Julius Thomas of the Denver Broncos will be the most coveted tight end of the class. It’s no secret he’s in line for a substantial pay increase after racking up 24 receiving touchdowns over the last two seasons and becoming an integral part of the Denver offense.
The Broncos have until February 16 to use their franchise tag and if they do not use it on Thomas, there is a great chance he hits the open market and sets off a bidding war.
Since 2013, Julius Thomas has caught 72 percent of the passes thrown his way and has averaged one reception and thirteen receiving yards more per game than any tight end on the Bills roster. He has hauled in nearly one touchdown per game (0.92 per game, to be exact) in that same time frame. Those numbers might not jump out at you, but apply that increase in production to each Bills game and it could make a huge difference.
A part of Thomas’ success can be attributed to playing with Peyton Manning and a stockpile of weapons in Denver, like outside receivers Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. It also has a lot to do with the tight end’s great ball skills and large frame, which has made the former Portland State University basketball star a top red zone target.