From the Buffalo Sports News...

Tra Thomas took a few steps into the drizzling rain, looked up at the gray sky and nearly jumped out of his cleats when lightning crackled overhead.

"That's it for me," Thomas said as he dashed for cover.

The Jacksonville Jaguars might want to consider keeping Thomas well out of harm's way. After all, the 6-foot-7, 316-pound veteran has become the team's biggest bargaining chip in negotiations with first-round draft pick Eugene Monroe. If Monroe's holdout stretches deep into training camp, Thomas will be Jacksonville's starting left tackle when the season begins.


Monroe was impressive during minicamp and organized team activities, and looked like he would push Thomas for the job. But Monroe and the team couldn't work out a contract to get him here on time.

Jacksonville was prepared to give the former Virginia standout $18 million guaranteed, which would have been nearly $1 million more than the Jaguars guaranteed defensive end Derrick Harvey (also the eighth pick) last season. Monroe's representatives wanted more, especially since Oakland gave receiver Darrius Heyward-Bay (the seventh pick) $23.5 million guaranteed.

The Jaguars, a small-market franchise struggling to sell tickets and facing several television blackouts, might not budge soon. Harvey's holdout lasted 33 days, the longest in team history, and left him behind when the season started. He finished with 3 1/2 sacks.

"The best thing for the player to do is be here because this team is moving on and there's a lot of good work being put in," coach Jack Del Rio said. "Seeing last year what the absence did to the player, I hope that everybody involved kind of recognizes that. It's a lot of money one way or another. But I think the player may suffer the most in the whole deal."
The article essentially points out why Monroe is not in a good negotiating position - the Jags signed someone this offseason in Thomas who can play Monroe's position, and thus are in no rush to be desperate about Monroe's contract.

That being said, it's hard to imagine that a $1 million bump in guaranteed money from the previous year is going to get it done. Jason Smith's contract I believe has a significant bump in guaranteed money over Chris Long's from the previous year. Darrius Heyward-Bay's guaranteed money is $4 million more than last year's pick in the same slot.

Should be interesting to see how this one plays out. Monroe may have a legitimate reason to seek more guaranteed money, but the Jags are in a position where they really aren't inclined to compromise because of other personnel.