Demaryius Thomas is Not Worth the Broncos’ Money


Sep 14, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) catches a pass during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll make this short and sweet for all of you reading this.

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is not worth the money he’s asking for from the Denver Broncos and general manager John Elway.

On Monday, it was reported that the Broncos would use their franchise tag on Thomas after they were unsuccessful in re-signing him to a long-term deal. According to The Denver Post, he’s already turned down an offer that would’ve set him up nicely at $13 million per season. Sayre Bedinger, an editor here at Predominatly Orange, brought up a rather poignant question in regards to if Thomas is worth all of this trouble or not:

"“Apparently, DT wants in excess of $15 million per year, which isn’t outrageous considering the market that has been set for top flight wide receivers, but is that a price the Broncos are either willing to pay or want to pay?”"

The answer to that question is a simple no. Demaryius Thomas is not worth upwards of $15 million in annual salary for two reasons and two reasons alone.

For starters, that money is better spent on greater impact players such as Von Miller whose contract is up in 2016, or on make-or-break positions like offensive linemen.

Secondly, throughout the history of the NFL, receivers have proven to be incredibly interchangeable. This is not merely because of the aerial show that goes on today in offenses across the league, but because in the right offense and the right scheme, almost any wideout can succeed.

In just the past few seasons, it’s clear to see the true value of today’s receivers.

Then-star wideout Mike Wallace left the Pittsburgh Steelers via free agency in 2013 to seek greener ($) pastures in South Beach, taking a blockbuster deal from the Miami Dolphins. While his production has dropped significantly in Miami, a young player named Antonio Brown has emerged from the shadows. Brown led the league in receiving yards (1,698) and receptions (129) in 2014 while Wallace failed to top 1,000 yards receiving for the second year in a row and is now subject of being released by the Dolphins.

Last season, the Seattle Seahawks dumped the dynamic Percy Harvin five games in and went on to become back-to-back NFC champions with virtually no big-name threats at receiver, let alone at tight end.

Future Hall of Fame head coach Bill Belichick has shown the door to the likes of Deion Branch, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and has lost a player who’s basically a receiver in Aaron Hernandez, and takes the New England Patriots to the AFC championship game almost every year. The Patriots, mind you, won the Super Bowl this past season with Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, and Danny Amendola as their top three receivers (!!!).

Nov 2, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) look over papers on the sideline during the fourth quarter of their 43-21 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

In closing, let’s take a look at the Emmanuel Sanders for Eric Decker switcheroo.

After spending the first four years of his career with the Steelers, Sanders decided to hit the road for Denver. He signed at a modest number with the Broncos, for he had never topped 1,000 receiving yards in a single season, nor had he recorded a 100-receiving yard performance in a game.

Eric Decker, on the other hand, was coming off of two consecutive seasons in Denver where he racked up over 2,300 receiving yards on 172 catches, with 24 touchdowns to boot in total.

Needless to say, Sanders tore apart the competition in 2014 and became one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets in the process. He crossed the century mark for receiving yardage in eight games and had roughly 1,400 by seasons end. “Who’s Eric Decker?”

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Speaking of that current New York Jet, he never even came close to matching his on-the-field production with his high contract number.

All things considered, this article was not written to belittle what Thomas has accomplished in Denver. He’s done a helluva lot in such a short amount of time, going from a projected bust, to a record-breaking star who truly strikes fear into the eyes of opposing defenders. Thomas is also coming off of his best season to date and is clearly in the prime of his career.

The fact of the matter, though, is that the Broncos cannot afford to break the bank on a receiver when history, recent history, as suggested you do otherwise. If Thomas is not to be a part of the team next season, then trading him has got to be the only option going through John Elway’s mind.

Elway will undoubtedly continue to try and work out a feasible deal with Thomas and his agent, but given the Decker’s, Knowshon Moreno’s, and soon-to-be Julius Thomas’ that he’s let walk because of contract issues, don’t be surprised to see Demaryius Thomas in a different uniform in 2016.