Ever since the Denver Broncos placed the franchise tag on star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, there has been tension in the Mile High City. Thomas, a three-time Pro Bowler, wants a long-term extension, and has thus held out from all offseason training activities.
He reportedly wants Calvin Johnson money, putting his desired annual salary around the $16M mark. John Elway and the Broncos aren’t willing to pay that much money for a receiver who, despite his elite-level talent, has clearly benefited from playing with Peyton Manning. The Broncos want him back for around $13M.
The Dallas Cowboys have also been in a stare-down with their star wideout Dez Bryant, whom they franchise tagged this offseason as well. Most saw the Broncos/Thomas situation as one that would not find a resolution, until the Cowboys and Bryant negotiations came to a head.
Related Story: Demaryius Thomas No. 20 on NFL Top-100
Thomas’ camp reportedly hoped that Dallas would extend Bryant on a big new deal, which would set the market for Thomas. Now, a new report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter claims that the National Football League Players Association is looking into a possible collusion between Dallas and Denver.
”NFLPA is reviewing information to determine whether there was collusion between the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys on the unsettled contractual situations of franchise WRS Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant, per an NFLPA official. The NFLPA believes the Broncos and Cowboys had contact about each players’ contract when the collective bargaining agreement prohibits such contact. The NFLPA now is trying to determine if collusion did occur and when to possibly file a claim. The deadline for the WRs to sign long-term deals is Wednesday of next week.”
Related Story: Cody Latimer Benefiting Most From Thomas' Absence
Basically, what that means is that the two teams are being accused of working together to set the market, facilitating an easier path to negotiations for the other team. If the Broncos are guilty of this, it violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement. And it would be very bad PR.
If proven to be true, which wouldn't be easy, it would open up the two football clubs to lawsuits from Thomas and Bryant.
More Broncos Stories
The Broncos and Cowboys have until July 15th, a mere five days from now, to come to terms on a contract extension for their respective players. If no accord is met in time for the deadline, Thomas and Bryant would be forced to play under the franchise tag, which would guarantee them $12.823M for 2015, or sit the entire season out.
Neither player has signed their tender. And neither team has commented on Schefter’s report. One thing to keep in mind: this could be the last minute desperation of two highly frustrated player agents, trying to strong-arm a deal. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.