Outside Chance Broncos Keep Both Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas


While driving home on Sunday afternoon from church, I was listening to ESPN radio where John Clayton was a guest. He was asked about what players in the NFL could be considered by their respective teams for the franchise tag, and immediately he named Demaryius Thomas.

What intrigued me most was not hearing that Demaryius will likely be franchise tagged for what feels like the millionth time, but that Clayton also added later on that there is an “outside chance” the Broncos could re-sign Demaryius Thomas in the 13 to $14 million range and franchise Julius Thomas.

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At this point, it feels like Julius is all but gone. There are connections being made with the Raiders, Seahawks, Jaguars, and all have varying levels of validity. Thomas and his family grew up Raiders fans. He went to school at Portland State and was the subject of a trade offer this past season by the Seahawks. The Jaguars, well, the Jaguars just need some decent offensive players and they have a ton of money to spend.

What this all means is that now that the Broncos have their coaching staff finalized, and perhaps a final decision from Peyton Manning forthcoming, they might be setting one way or another final preparations for a plan of attack this offseason, and while keeping both Thomases would be spendy, but it might be the best for the Broncos in the short and long term with Manning for 2015, and whoever else from that point on.

Most people have moved on from Julius already, expecting him to bolt to the highest bidder in free agency. However, he may not have that luxury. He is likely hoping that Demaryius Thomas gets tagged so he can cash in this offseason and become one of the highest paid tight ends in the league, but the Broncos aren’t in any rush to let all these guys walk without a fight, especially players like Julius Thomas.

Clayton also reported that it’s not likely Peyton Manning will take a pay cut if/when he returns, and that he shouldn’t. If the Broncos need some extra space and want to re-structure Manning’s deal, Clayton says they could turn some of his $19 million this year in to a signing bonus.

There are varying opinions on this, but if Manning allowed 7 t0 $8 million of his contract to come as a signing bonus, the Broncos could afford to keep Julius Thomas around as well as Demaryius, who isn’t expected to leave either way.

One thing is for sure — the Broncos are going to need to be really active in free agency with eight starters hitting the open market. If they need some help from Manning and he’s only coming back for one more season, I don’t know why he wouldn’t accept it but I’m also not the one who is set to receive a $19 million salary.

This will be a fun situation to monitor, and hopefully we don’t have to watch Julius Thomas in silver and black. That would be gross.