Good morning, Broncos Country!
This is the final week of offseason team work before a long break until training camp, and there is no word yet from Dove Valley about a deal with Demaryius Thomas.
However, the situation is apparently heating up after reports from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport that supposedly Peyton Manning is "upset" there hasn't been a deal despite comments from head coach Gary Kubiak that he's confident a deal will be worked out before training camp.
Peyton Manning is already upset Demaryius Thomas doesn’t have a new deal. If there isn’t one, don’t expect to see DT when camp begins— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 11, 2015
And then over the weekend, Spotrac came out with an updated valuation of Thomas based on a comparison of other wide receivers at similar age and production, putting his value at about $16 million a year on a five-year $80 million contract with $37 million guaranteed.
"Thomas brings forth one of the more dominant evaluations we've ever done, producing positive comparisons in every statistical category," Spotrac's Michael Ginnitti writes. "Thomas gains more than two times the yards after catch of any of our variable receivers, and nearly scores at that rate as well."
Ginnitti also points out that Thomas hasn't missed a game since before the 2012 season, proving his durability matches his production. "This can be a huge leverage point when negotiating guaranteed money in a contract," says Ginnitti.
This whole contract/holding out business is not territory in which I like to foray opinion-wise because it's hard to know what's going on behind the scenes. However, it's hard not to have an opinion, even if it's tough to choose "a side."
I love watching Demaryius Thomas play, and I will be very sad if he is not in Broncos orange and blue this season and will most certainly not want to watch him go to another team in a future season. And I get that he "deserves" good money - even top money. He has proved himself over and over with the Broncos and is a big reason for much of our offensive production over the last four years.
But he's not the only reason, and I wouldn't say he's proved himself "invaluable" because while the Broncos will no doubt miss him on the field and the incredible numbers he has put up, the team and Peyton Manning won't be completely lacking at the position either. Emmanuel Sanders more than proved he is worthy at the position last year, and Cody Latimer - along with tight ends Virgil Green and Owen Daniels - seem poised to help Manning continue the air attack when called upon.
And so I understand the position GM John Elway is facing. While he would love to keep Thomas, he needs to consider many things beyond one player, namely the cap and contracts coming next year with other big-production players like Von Miller.
And there may also be a bit of a "message" Elway is considering. He has shown over and over he is not going to bend to player demands just because the market offers it, the player wants it and fans hope for it.
While I know this is not popular with every staff writer or commenter here, I appreciate where Elway is coming from. If he just gives in to market value for any player who wants it (even ones at the top of their position in the league) - he would bankrupt the team.
Paying top dollar for certain positions (i.e., quarterbacks) makes sense when those positions are not as easily replaced on the roster or in coming free agencies and drafts.
I don't blame DT for wanting the most he can have. That's his choice, and he can decide whether top money at a likely lesser team is the better way to go or choose fair money at a championship-level team.
But I wouldn't blame Elway either for not offering $16 million - even though I'm sure Thomas is worth it.
Projecting the Value of Demaryius Thomas | Spotrac Research
The Broncos saw plenty of their players earn major paydays elsewhere this offseason, but may be on the verge of keeping one of their own for the future. We'll project the current value of WR Demaryius Thomas, forecasting his possible extension.
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