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Demaryius Thomas contract talks could heat up thanks to Dez Bryant - Horse Tracks

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Demaryius Thomas, Matt Prater, Wes Welker, and Cowboys talk for your Wednesday orange and blue coffee.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

We start today by talking about Demaryius Thomas' contract situation, and how the Broncos' opponent this week, the Dallas Cowboys, may have impacted it.

Dez Bryant of the Cowboys wants a top-five WR deal, and just like the Broncos' Thomas, he's set to become a free agent in the spring. He's given the Cowboys a deadline of the season opener, and talks have resumed. Heated up even. A deal isn't imminent, but traction has been gained.

That's more than the Broncos and Thomas have been able to report since June. "I am not worried about it," Thomas said Tuesday. "I am just focused on playing and helping this team win."

That's fine, but there's a good possibility that Bryant's contract talks change things. Earlier, John Elway said he wanted to get deals done with both Demaryius and Julius Thomas by the third preseason game. Obviously that's come and gone. But there's no reason to think they can't spend another week or two firming up details based on Bryant's contract, and maybe even get a deal done.

Here's hoping it happens. I think D.T. is the future face of this franchise.

Wes Welker

Only John Fox can turn Wes Welker doing "fantastic" into kind of a boring soundbite. Welker's still going through the protocol, so he won't practice or play this week, but things are beginning to look optimistic for the season opener. That's just my speculative take.

ESPN's Mike and Mike spent 10 minutes debating Welker, NFL concussions, and the merits of players like Welker who seem to be taking the team doctor's clearance and running with it without a second thought.

Emmanuel Sanders can play the slot in Welker's stead, as can Jacob Tamme, as can Cody Latimer.

Then there's this from The Onion. I'm sorry, but I lol'ed.

Cowboys notes

DeMarcus Ware is ready for his homecoming... not that he'll play or anything.

It's game week - in fact, the game is tomorrow. Safety Quinton Carter killed it in practice Tuesday, intercepting both Peyton Manning and Zac Dysert while stopping C.J. Anderson at the goal line.

Brock Osweiler had a nice quote on what preseason means to backups. "When you’re not playing in the game I guess as a starter, all the second-, third-, fourth-string guys, we all have something to prove," Osweiler said. "I think everybody’s trying to prove something different but we all have something in the end that we would like to show. It’s a big game for everybody."

Andrew Mason chimes in with his five thoughts, noting that cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Kayvon Webster have both worked extensively during team and one-on-one periods, "moving well and showing no apparent effects from their injuries."

The Denver Post expects Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman will both sit out the fourth preseason game, giving C.J. Anderson the start and Juwan Thompson and Kapri Bibbs plenty of reps.

Matt Prater and the Broncos' new kicker

Kiszla is often way off the mark, but here, he's way on the mark.

With no explanation, the league punishes Prater, his 52 teammates on Denver's active roster and every Broncos season-ticket holder for drinking beer? A little more transparency might serve everyone well. Pardon me for thinking that human growth hormone might be a greater threat to the health and integrity of the NFL game than Bud Light.

Meanwhile, his four-week replacement reportedly knocked in field goals from 75 yards out. Who else thinks Prater might be in trouble?

Miscellany

Julius Thomas and Ryan Clady make ESPN's Top 40 NFL players list, which uses feedback from Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus. I hadn't heard of this list until now. I agree: Thomas and Clady are good.

Our friend Kaptain Kirk takes a look at return man options that are out on the market, including a former Bronco.

Vote for this Broncos fan. He sent us a message on our Facebook page asking for Broncos Country's help. He wants to hijack this Oregon/Seahawks Country contest and win a mountain bike. This is a good cause people. Plus, he carried a freaking Broncos flag up a mountain. I've hiked seven 14ers now; I've hiked to the high point of Arizona a dozen times, and it's never occurred to me to carry a freaking Broncos flag up a mountain. Vote for this Broncos-flag-toting mountain man. More info about the contest.

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Finally, here's another Von Miller Madden video to warm you up this Wednesday. If you're playing Madden, share your gamer handle in the comments and get your game on! #Carroting