The release of veterans Torry Holt and Tra Thomas would suggest General Manager Gene Smith is confident in the young talent on the Jaguars roster.
Holt, Thomas and veteran defensive lineman Rob Meier were officially released by the team on Thursday. Holt and Thomas were signed in free agency last year as security blankets in a youth movement that was just beginning. The emergence of young wide receivers Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas and offensive tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton made Holt and Thomas expendable. Meier spent last season on the injured reserve list.
"After completing our postseason roster evaluation, we've made the decision in the best interest of the organization to release three veteran players with tremendous playing history in the league," Smith said in announcing the roster moves. "All three players have played 10 or more years in the NFL and have made a positive impact on the Jaguars organization. These decisions certainly weren't easy ones, as Torry, Tra and Rob have over 350 starts between them and they still have the ability contribute for other teams in the league."
Holt played in 15 games and was third on the team with 51 receptions and second with 722 yards receiving. His 63-yard reception against Miami was the Jaguars' longest of the season.
He was the NFL's most productive receiver of the decade with 868 receptions for 12,594 yards and was named to the NFL all-decade team. Of the five receivers on the Jaguars roster, he was the only one with more than one season of playing experience.
"I'm confident Torry will be a first-ballot Hall of Fame player one day. He's a seven-time Pro-Bowl player who ranks 10th in NFL history in receiving yards and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Rams. Torry was a player-coach for us this past year in the way he mentored our inexperienced receiving group, and he was one of the leaders of our team," Smith said.
Tra Thomas played in eight games with three starts. The Jaguars signed him in free agency prior to last year's draft and the selection of Monroe and Britton in the first two rounds.
"I know Eugene and Eben benefitted from Tra's veteran presence and craftiness as a player. He's a three-time Pro-Bowl player who played in five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl with the Eagles," Smith said.
Meier was a seventh-round draft choice in 2000. He was considered to be the best swing-man defensive lineman in the league during most of his career.
"He's without question one of the toughest players to ever wear a Jaguars uniform," Smith said.
A year after beginning the youth movement, Smith was asked if he's satisfied with the progress.
"I think we've laid a good foundation and we just need to continue to build. We feel a lot better about our roster heading into the 2010 season. The silver lining to our young players playing so much last season is the experience they gained," Smith said.