According to The Denver Channel’s Troy Renck, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has a wrinkle in his contract where he could end up being a free agent this offseason.
Thomas has a $4 million dollar option bonus due on the last day of the league year. If the Broncos decline that option, Thomas’s final two years of his contract will be voided and he will be a free agent.
Here is what Renck had to say about the wrinkle in Thomas’s contract.
Thomas’ contract contains a $4 million option bonus due by the last day of the league year on March 14. If the Broncos decline to exercise it, the final two seasons of Thomas’ contracts are voided, making him a free agent. The dead money makes this interesting. It would be $4.4 million less a $1.33 million cap charge already absorbed for one-third of the bonus.
Translation: the dead cap money would be $3.07 million.
The Broncos who are looking to create cap space for someone - Kirk Cousins, obviously - could look at this as an easy way to create some cap space, but I highly doubt they end up releasing Thomas.
Renck states that he, and many others, expect the Broncos to ask multiple players to restructure their contracts to create more cap space or even take pay cuts. I’d imagine that Thomas is a strong candidate to get a restructured contract this offseason.
It wouldn’t make any sense for the Broncos to release Thomas anyways. If they are indeed targeting Kirk Cousins, why would they release their number one receiver? That makes the Broncos a much less attractive spot for Cousins and creates another big hole on the offensive side of the ball.
Thomas finished the 2017 season with 83 receptions for 949 yards and 5 touchdowns. This is the first time he has finished under 1,000 yards receiving since the 2011 season.
However, it wasn’t really Thomas’s fault for the down numbers this season. He dealt with poor quarterback play from the sucky trio of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch. The Broncos had a revolving door between the three so the Broncos receivers never had a chance to get any chemistry with whoever was under center.
I expect Thomas to restructure and be back with the Broncos in 2018 and have a bounce-back season with better quarterback play coming his way.