Demaryius Thomas: No. 20 On NFLN's Top-100

Last season, Thomas was the No. 49 player on NFL Network's Top-100 list. This year, he climbed almost 30 spots.

If you’ve been following along with the NFL’s flagship cable station—NFL Network—and their annual all-filler-no-killer show “Top-100 Players of 2015”, then you know that last night, Demaryius Thomas was voted (by his peers?) as the No. 20 player. Emmanuel Sanders, DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller preceded Thomas on the list.

We at MHH take exception to this show, as it lost all credibility with the snubbing of Chris Harris, Jr., who not only earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors for his phenomenal performance in 2014, but also graded out as Pro Football Focus’ top cornerback.

Is Demaryius Thomas Worth $16M Per Year? SOUND OFF IN THE FORUMS!

But this article is about Demaryius Thomas, who is currently entrenched in a holdout. After the Broncos placed the Franchise Tag on him, which guarantees him $12.83M for 2015, the three-time Pro Bowler chose to hold out from the team’s entire offseason training program.

And more power to him. Holding out from team activities is the only leverage he has to negotiate a long-term deal with the team. He reportedly is looking to be paid $16M per season and John Elway isn’t about to open Pat Bowlen’s wallet for that kind of money. Try $12-13M.

Related Story: All Eyes On Demaryius Thomas As Mandatory Camp Looms

Why? Because Thomas isn’t worth $16M per year. As long as Peyton Manning is under center in Denver, the Broncos can get production from another starting receiver very close to the numbers Thomas has thrown up over the last three seasons.

Although extremely unlikely, if Thomas chose to hold out for the entire 2015 season and Cody Latimer was plugged in his place, I have no doubt that Latimer's numbers would be prolific. Maybe 75 receptions, 1,200 yards and close to double-digit touchdowns. It’s the Peyton Manning Effect.

Related Story: Cody Latimer Benefiting Most From Thomas' Absence

That doesn’t mean Thomas isn’t among the best at his position. He most certainly is. After all, Thomas has been one of the NFL’s most productive wide receivers over the last three seasons. With 4,483 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns, he ranks second in the NFL from 2012-14. And with 297 receptions, he ranks third in the league over that same time span.

If Brock Osweiler was the starting quarterback for the Broncos, it would totally change Thomas’ value to the team. The Broncos would need a game-changer at the position to take pressure off the young gunslinger.

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But Osweiler is not the starter. It’s Manning and it could stay that way through the 2016 season. In fact, it could be argued that the Broncos shouldn’t even be willing to pay Thomas $12-13M as long as Manning is in town, when they could get close to that on-the-field production from Latimer.

But Elway is willing to pony up some serious money for Thomas because he knows Manning’s time in Denver is finite and he has to plan for life without the five-time league MVP. Thomas and the Broncos have until July 15th to work out a long-term extension. If they cannot reach an accord by then, Thomas will have no choice but to play under the franchise tag in 2015, or sit out the season.

As for being “voted” the No. 20 player on the Top-100 list, meh. It’s nice to see Thomas get some recognition and publicity around the league, but the veracity of said list went bye-bye with the Harris omission.

Chad Jensen is the Publisher and Lead Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen and on Google+.

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