Before I begin, I want it to be known that I do think Demaryius Thomas is one of the best wide receivers in the history of the franchise, but I also think he is slightly overrated and overpaid. The former first rounder out of Georgia Tech has worked hard to perfect his craft and can be dangerous with the ball in his hands, but injuries and age appear to be catching up to him.
The Denver Broncos second leading receiver in franchise history is currently on track to have his worst statistical season since his second year in the league when Tim Tebow was the quarterback. If we take his season averages and account for that in a 16 game schedule, Thomas will have 80 catches for a meager 672 yards and four touchdowns. Right now, he is averaging 8.4 yards per catch which is three yards per catch lower than his second worst season that he had last year.
This is a steep drop off from a player who from 2012-2016 was consistently ranked in the top ten in catches, yards receiving, and touchdowns, was voted to five consecutive Pro Bowls, and named a second team All-Pro twice. In that five-year span, it was easy to forgive Thomas for the biggest issue in his game, drops, which he also consistently ranks in the top ten in the league in.
However, when your stat line reads more like a running back catching swing passes out of the backfield, the drops become more of a factor in the evaluation. Through four games this season, Thomas is tied for the league lead in drops with three. Moreover, it appears like he has lost a step which makes him significantly less of a run after the catch threat that has been in years past.
While the stats may point to the need to replace this eventual Ring of Fame honoree, the biggest reason for his inclusion on this list is the emergence of Courtland Sutton and the amount of money the Denver Broncos currently have tied up in the wide receiver position. Between Emmanuel Sanders (who is enjoying a resurgence year) and Thomas’ salaries the Denver Broncos will be committing nearly $30 million to two aging wide receivers.
The emergence of Sutton may be somewhat premature, but I have been thoroughly impressed by him through four games this season. He is as advertised, a vertical jump-ball threat who can tower over any corner and come down with the catch. In fact, with less than half of the receptions of Thomas, Sutton only has 26 less receiving yards. He is currently averaging an outstanding 17.8 yards per catch.
It could be time for the Denver Broncos to move on or potentially restructure the contract of one of the greatest receivers in franchise history because paying a quickly aging receiver producing 8.4 yards per catch $17.5 million is outlandish and ridiculous.
With only four games played this season, there is plenty of time for things to turn around and opinions to be changed, but as it looks right now, these three veterans could be on the outs from Denver prior to the 2019 season.