With two more days for the Broncos and Demaryius Thomas to finalize a long-term contract extension for the standout receiver, it doesn’t appear likely that the two sides will come to terms, according to multiple reports. Both Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk have characterized the chances of a multiyear deal as possible, but unlikely.
According to Cole, the NFLPA’s investigation into possible collusion between the Broncos and Cowboys has slowed contract talks for Thomas, whose demands are still well above what Denver feels comfortable doing. Florio points out that, given Peyton Manning‘s uncertain status beyond this season, it may not make sense for the Broncos to invest a huge amount of long-term money into a wide receiver, since it’s not clear who would be throwing him the ball throughout most of that contract.
As Florio also observes, the Broncos’ last long-term deal for a franchised player came in 2013, for left tackle Ryan Clady. Since he signed that extension, Clady has suffered two major injuries, including an ACL tear that will sideline him for the 2015 season. While Thomas is a different player in a different situation, the Clady deal could nonetheless make the team more inclined to go year to year on its current franchised player.
Assuming the Broncos and Thomas don’t reach an agreement by the July 15 deadline, the two sides will still have some wiggle room to negotiate terms on the one-year tag. Denver could opt to increase the $12.823MM salary a little, or include a clause in the contract that prevents the team from franchising Thomas again in 2016.
With a new head coach and offensive coordinator in place for the 2015 season, it would be in the best interests of Manning and the Denver offense to get Thomas to camp as soon as possible. As such, the Broncos may be willing to give it a little ground on that one-year tender, even if they’re not comfortable with giving their No. 1 wideout a sizable long-term guarantee.