Tag Deadline Looms for Broncos, WR Demaryius Thomas


It’s not always easy to keep your best players happy, and for the Denver Broncos, they’re going to find that out the hard way on Monday if they can’t lock up wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to a long-term deal before then.

The deadline to apply the franchise tag to players is on Monday, so hopefully the Broncos and Thomas are progressing toward ad long-term deal, but right now it’s considered likely that DT will receive the franchise tag. Essentially, he will be guaranteed a one-year contract of around $13 million and that will count directly against the Broncos’ cap.

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Neither party likes to have to use the franchise tag, but in the end it’s of more benefit to the team than to the player.

With a player’s value potentially at the highest it will ever be, they get slapped with a one-year contract and have a contract negotiating window that, if they cannot complete, they go into the next offseason facing a potentially great loss of guaranteed money compared to what they might have previously gotten.

For the team, it’s a huge amount of money to have to pay for a single player (though DT’s price tag pales in comparison to Ndamukong Suh’s tag number of around $26 million) and it counts directly against the cap, so it significantly limits what you can do on the open market.

Hence, why teams always have to ask players to re-structure, take pay cuts, or end up just cutting them outright.

It’s also a risk for the team because you risk upsetting the player and things getting chippy in the offseason. It’s not unlikely that, if tagged, Thomas will sit out of OTAs and possibly even into training camp. These guys are playing on a one-year guaranteed contract, so there’s no reason for them to risk getting injured and lowering their market value.

At least, that’s the way they see it (usually).

As I said before, the hope is that the Broncos and Thomas can figure out a way to work out a long-term contract. However, there is also some belief that keeping DT long-term is not a responsible financial move for the Broncos, considering how recent Super Bowl winning teams have been built and where the spend (or don’t spend) their money.

Paying a wide receiver upwards of 12 to $14 million annually is not something that teams that have recently won Super Bowls do, really, so there is a school of thought that letting Thomas walk is a better strategy for the Broncos in the long run.

I don’t agree with that simply because I think DT is a star player that has earned his market value, but I think the Broncos can structure it in a way to get him enough guaranteed money that he’s not counting against the cap as much as it might appear when the deal is signed.

As always, we’ll be keeping an eye on this situation as it progresses and holding out hope that DT and the Broncos can work something out sooner rather than later.