Broncos fans are waking up on Chargers Gameday with some not-so-good news. The Denver Broncos have put contract talks on hold with star WR Demaryius Thomas and star TE Julius Thomas until after the season, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.
During the offseason, John Elway gave the timetable of a few weeks into training camp to get an extension done. Broncos fans had heard very little since training camp, so many believed that talks were done. However, that is apparently untrue.
There are a lot of factors going into negotiations for all parties involved. Both D. Thomas and J. Thomas know their contracts are up after the year and surely know they will be highly sought after if they hit the free agent market.
In the case of D. Thomas, his rough start to the season gave the Broncos a better stance on their negotiations. Since then, he has rebounded, putting up unbelievable numbers the last few games, making negotiations come to a stand-still and be put on hold.
Demaryius is probably looking for a top end contract for receivers. Something like a 5-year for $80 million. That would put him at $16 million per year, which is on par with what Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald got. If Denver is unable to get a deal done, a franchise tag is an option at an estimated $12.8 million. At the very least, a franchise tag gives Denver more time to work on a long term deal.
The issue with using the franchise tag on D. Thomas is that they would need a deal done with Julius Thomas beforehand. Julius Thomas was paying close attention to the Jimmy Graham situation with the New Orleans Saints, where Graham eventually ended up with a 4-year $40 million dollar deal. That is probably close to what Julius Thomas is looking at, if not more. The franchise tag for a tight end is estimated at $8.3 million.
There is no doubt the Broncos want to keep both players on the roster. If they can get one signed, they will likely look to franchise tag the other, although even that has impacts elsewhere. Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas are not the only big time players the Broncos may look to keep around. Also potentially hitting the free agent market are CB Chris Harris, DT Terrance Knighton, WR Wes Welker, OG Orlando Franklin and several others.
The only thing for certain with this Broncos team and this upcoming offseason is this: they have their work cut out for them, especially if they fail to bring the Lombardi to Denver.