clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Horse Tracks: Is Demaryius Thomas worth Calvin Johnson money?

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The big debate around here has been whether Denver Broncos star wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas, is worth Calvin Johnson money or worth Mike Wallace money. I have noticed that generally you all feel he lies somewhere in between as he is obviously better than Wallace, but not Johnson.

Then a commenter named lancing_2009 on Mile High Report dropped some knowledge yesterday comparing Thomas to Johnson. The stats changed my opinion enough to send me off to research and follow up with some Mike Wallace numbers later in this post.

First, he (or she) compares the two players through their first five seasons in the NFL:

But just for comparison sake check these numbers through the first five seasons of DT and CJ career and tell me what you guys think.

Calvin Johnson: 366 receptions, 5872 yds (16ypc) and 49 TD

Demaryius Thomas: 351 receptions, 5317 yds (15.1ypc) and 41 TD. Mind you DT also missed 11 games during his first 2 seasons and had Tebow throwing him passes.

They look like similar players to me and lancing_2009 makes an excellent point that Thomas missed 11 games during his first two seasons and had Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow throwing him the ball during that time.

Well what about Mike Wallace? You know, since he is the contract the Broncos apparently want Thomas to accept.

Mike Wallace: 308 receptions, 4969 yds (16.1 ypc) and 37 TD. Wallace also only missed one game during that span.

Oh we're not finished. Let's just examine the last three years, after all, the NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" kind of league.

The numbers speak for themselves folks. Compare Megatron to DT over the past 3 seasons and the numbers are:

CJ: 489 targets*, 277 rec, 4533 yds*, 25 td

DT: 467 targets*, 297 rec*, 4483 yds*, 35 td*

I'm not sure what the asterisks mean, but those are some incredible numbers for Thomas. He beats out Calvin Johnson in nearly every state, except yards. Keep in mind the Detroit Lions are a pass-heavy team just like the Broncos. Peyton Manning is great, but he doesn't throw the ball to bums who can't get open.

Since Mike Wallace always seems to come up in the discussion of contract talks between the Broncos and Thomas, he must fare pretty similarly to these two beasts.

Wallace: 375 Targets, 204 receptions, 2628 yards (12.88 YPC) and 23 touchdowns.

This isn't even close. There are two players who belong in the same discussion and one who got paid way more than he should have.

I have changed my mind on this issue. YES, Demaryius Thomas is worth every penny of Calvin Johnson money. In fact, he is the only other player in NFL history besides Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison to compile three consecutive seasons of 90+ receptions, 1400+ yards and 10+ touchdowns.

John Elway needs to get this deal done and it needs to ensure Demaryius Thomas is wearing the orange and blue at least into the 2020's. You can replace starting talent, but you can't replace Hall of Fame talent. I believe Thomas to be of the latter.

Horse Tracks

Best & Worst 2015: The Worst Wide Receiver Contracts - Over the Cap
For the last two seasons I have done a summer "Best and Worst" contracts for each team in the NFL, but I decided this year to put that on hold since it recycles so many players and instead take a positional approach to the concept. (H/T to Rodney for this)

A hypothetical contract for Demaryius Thomas - Mile High Report
I've been reading quite a few posts and accompanying comment threads about DT's so-called holdout, his lack of a current contract, and the fact that he has not yet signed his 2015 franchise tag for $12.83M.

From a career perspective, it's a big year for many Broncos |
Team success isn't the only motivator for Broncos who face a crucial training camp and season from an individual perspective.

Training Camp Preview: Inside linebackers |
Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall could be an elite duo. But they're both coming off injuries, so depth will be crucial.

Billy Thompson reflects on Ken Stabler's vibrance, talent |
Ring of Fame defensive back Billy Thompson remembers Ken Stabler, one of the Broncos' toughest opponents of the 1970's.

How much does 39-year-old Peyton Manning have left? -
There was a report last month that the Broncos tried to trade Peyton Manning to the Texans this offseason. The Broncos denied it (of course), but at some point in the not-too-distant future there will be conversations about the look of Denver's offense in a post-Manning world.

Denver Broncos Pre-Training Camp Thoughts | Predominantly Orange
We’re rapidly approaching 2015 Training Camp for the Denver Broncos, and my mind is running wild with football thoughts. I don’t know about you, but for me, the offseason has gone incredibly quickly.

Denver Broncos Need to Make Extending QB Brock Osweiler a Priority - RantSports
Of course, when most people hear the word "contract" in the Mile High City it, more than likely, is sandwiched in between the words "Demaryius Thomas" and "holdout," and rightly so.

Demaryius Thomas Deserves to Be Paid Like Top WR | Bleacher Report
Within the next week, the Denver Broncos will need to come to an agreement on a long-term deal with star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. July 15 is the deadline for teams to sign players designated with the franchise tag to new deals.

NFLPA looking at possible collusion between Broncos, Cowboys
The NFL Players Association is reviewing information to determine whether there was collusion between the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys on the unsettled contractual situations of respective franchise wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant, an NFLPA official said.

Demaryius Thomas' agent finalizing deal to sell management company | Denver Post
Creative Artists Agency is finalizing a deal to acquire Todd France’s Five Star Athletes Management, according to Sports Business Daily’s Liz Mullen.

Cheerleader Calendar Shoot in Mexico - Day 2 |
The Broncos Cheerleaders continue Day 2 of their calendar photoshoot in Mexico.

The Seahawks need Russell Wilson more than he needs them -
What would happen if the Seahawks really did let their superstar quarterback become a free agent instead of paying him whatever he wants?

New study says the Dallas Cowboys have the NFL's best fans* -
*because they spend the most money.

Ken Stabler personified daring and fun -
Ken Stabler is remembered for being one of the toughest, coolest and most fun-loving quarterbacks to ever play.

NFL fans in England don’t want the Jaguars anyway -
Despite the growing popularity of American football in their country, fans in the UK don't want any NFL team permanently relocating there.