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John Elway on Demaryius Thomas trade: Emmanuel Sanders ‘made this decision easier’

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The decision to trade Demaryius Thomas ultimately came down to how well Emmanuel Sanders is playing and the emergence of rookie Courtland Sutton.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

John Elway and the Denver Broncos rocked Broncos Country with the news that wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was being traded for essentially a fourth round pick to the Houston Texans on Tuesday prior to the NFL Trade Deadline.

With Thomas, 30, nearing the end of his contract and on the wrong side of 30, Elway decided there was value in dealing a player who will likely end up in the franchises Ring of Fame someday. That decision was partly due to the emergence of rookie standout Courtland Sutton who is quickly coming into this own after just eight games in the NFL.

“I think that they’ve all—Courtland’s played very, very well,” Elway said when asked about Sutton. “Tim Patrick played very well last week. Emmanuel is obviously playing very well, too. We thought that this would give Courtland a chance to get out there, play more and become a bigger part of it because we think he’s ready to go. He’s played well up to this point in time. Hopefully this accelerates his maturity.”

However, the player that sealed the deal and the decision to move on from Thomas came down to his partner in crime on the field, Emmanuel Sanders.

“We leave Emmanuel out, he’s had a great year,” Elway said. “He’s played hard, he competes, he’s tough and a great competitor. What he’s done has also made this decision easier.”

Sanders, 31, is the real star in 2018. He has three 100-yard receiving games so far this season and has amassed 50 receptions for 660 yards and 3 touchdowns in eight games this year. Easily eclipsing Thomas’ production of 36 receptions for 402 yards and three scores.

Rookie Sutton, already has 17 receptions for 324 yards and two touchdowns this season and figures to see his role expand exponentially moving forward.

Hopefully it translates to more production on the field for the Broncos offense as reps will now be more evened out among a core of starters.