All this talk about Florida beating out the Raiders for free agents due to income tax implications may or may not be at work here, but according to reports, two of the Raiders top targets to the Sunshine state. First it was the report that Ndamukong Suh is headed to Miammi and now Jason Cole is reporting Julius Thomas is going to Jacksonville.
Two sources indicating TE Julius Thomas is just about done/signed in Jacksonville— Jason Cole (@JasonPhilCole) March 8, 2015
There had been somewhat conflicting reports with regard to Julius Thomas and the Raiders. There was no question the Raiders were interested, but just HOW interested was in question.
Adam Schefter had said he saw the Raiders prioritizing Randall Cobb and Julius Thomas over Ndamukong Suh (oddly enough, all three now appear to be off the table). Adam Caplan said the Raiders didn't have as much interest as originally thought. Or cetainly that interest didn't match up with the market Thomas was commanding.
Instead the Raiders interest was shifting to that of Bengals tight end, Jermaine Gresham. Thomas and Gresham were two of the three tight ends on my Raiders Free Agent Wishlist. The other was Charles Clay who the Dolphins slapped with a transition tag last week.
Gresham is a former first round pick and two-time Pro Bowler (2011, 2012) for the Bengals. He has 2722 yards and 24 touchdowns over five seasons in the NFL. He is certainly the best remaining tight end on the market and the Raiders are desperate to add a tight end.
In the end, Thomas growing up a 'big time' Raiders fan and his dad lobbying for him to join the Raiders meant nothing. If the report is true, he got the deal he wanted on the other side of the country, far away from Oakland. And the Raiders are focusing their attention on a more attainable player in Gresham.