For most of us, football is a game we love to watch with family and friends. But for the players who give their blood, sweat and tears on the gridiron it’s much more than that — it’s their life. On the other end of the spectrum, football is a business and sometimes hard business decisions have to be made with every franchise. The Denver Broncos will face several large ones this offseason, but one of the toughest they will have to make is whether or not to keep star receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Unfortunately, this offseason could signal the end of Thomas’ career with the Denver Broncos. Originally selected in the first round 2010 NFL Draft, Thomas is the longest tenured member of the team. He is the last man standing for a franchise that has endured a lot over the past eight years. While he may not be the most outspoken player in the league, Thomas has certainly been one of the team’s biggest leaders on and off the field.
In eight seasons with the Broncos, Thomas has put up incredible numbers registering 629 catches for 8,653 yards and 57 touchdowns. He also made five straight Pro Bowls (2012-2016) and earned All-Pro honors (2013 and 2014) twice. But most importantly, Thomas is a Super Bowl champion. If you were to chalk up a list of the greatest wide receives in Broncos history, he would only rank behind Rod Smith. That’s the type of legacy he has created in the NFL, and it also signifies how large of a void the franchise would have if they moved on from him this offseason.
Thomas may have had a down year in 2017, but I’ll give him a mulligan for his performance considering the lackluster play the team had at the quarterback position. I’m confident that with a true franchise quarterback, Thomas could easily put up the type of numbers he has in the past. If this past year was the last we will ever see of him wearing orange and blue, I would like to thank him for everything he has done for the team and community.
P.S. — You can count me as part of the group that wants to see him finish out his career with the Broncos.
Demaryius Thomas 2017 Grade from Pro Football Focus
According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas earned a 75.3 grade this past season, which registers in the ‘average’ category. Overall, he ranked 46th among eligible receivers.
Demaryius Thomas Contract Outlook
The Broncos have until the beginning of the new league year in March to exercise a $4 million option that will lock in the final two years of Thomas’ contract. In 2018, he would earn just over $12 million, and $17.5 million in 2019. If the Broncos decide not exercise the option, those years will void and he will become a free agent. There is no doubt that Thomas is the team’s best receiver, but whether or not the Broncos believe he is worth nearly $30 million over the next two years remains to be seen.
Thomas’ future with the team is uncertain. At the end of the day, the franchise will likely have to decide between keeping him or moving forward with Emmanuel Sanders. My money is on the Broncos exercising the option to keep Thomas, but coming to an agreement to restructure the remaining two years on his contract in order to create cap space to help the team make some big moves in free agency. One of the big moves will be attempting to sign Kirk Cousins — and it might be a tough sell to get him to land in Denver if they opt to get rid of their best receiver.