Extra Points: Thomas, Mathieu, Browner, Draft

As the Broncos continue to reside up against the salary cap, ESPN.com’s Field Yates points out Demaryius Thomas‘ contract can help the Super Bowl champions clear $9.18MM worth of space.

A clause in the seventh-year wide receiver’s five-year, $70MM deal indicates the Broncos can convert any amount of Thomas’ $13MM 2016 salary into a signing bonus, which would then be spread out over the final four seasons of the pact, Yates reports. The Broncos reducing that salary to the veteran minimum of $760K would free up $9.18MM of cap space this year. The team currently resides in cap peril, with barely $1MM in space before signing Jared Crick on Wednesday, as it attempts to work out a Colin Kaepernick trade.

A Thomas restructure would make sense for the Broncos, who have many high-priced contracts on a cap sheet — although, Ryan Clady and Von Miller‘s respective $10.1 and $14.1MM numbers could well be reduced soon, or removed in Clady’s case — that doesn’t include a high-priced quarterback. Denver currently wants Kaepernick at $7MM for 2016 and ’17, but in 2017, the Broncos are as of now set to have $72.36MM of space — second-most in the league.

They’d have more room for a higher Thomas cap number with contracts like Clady’s and DeMarcus Ware‘s off their balance sheet after the 2016 league year. The Dolphins put a similar clause in Ndamukong Suh‘s deal last year.

Here’s the latest from around the league.

  • Rehabbing from the torn ACL he sustained in Week 15, Tyrann Mathieu said he would prefer to stay with the Cardinals long-term but acknowledges the negotiation could be tricky, with the versatile defensive back wanting a top-end contract but at a time when he’s coming off a second knee surgery, Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com writes in an expansive piece. “They have concerns, which is understandable,” Mathieu told Prisco. “I’ve had two knee surgeries. At the same time, they know who I am as a teammate, as a football player, what I mean to the community and what I can do on the football field. The easiest thing is to pay me as a safety. But if [Patrick Peterson‘s] guy goes down, I have to check Pat’s guy. For me, it’s about me being compensated for everything I do.” In late February, we heard the contract-year safety and the Cardinals were discussing an extension, but nothing has emerged from those talks as of yet.
  • Vernon Davis can earn up to $4.5MM in 2016 if he meets all the incentives of his Washington contract, Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports. Davis’ deal is officially a one-year, $1.66MM pact, but the 12th-year tight end meeting those as-of-now unspecified performance incentives could more than double that.
  • Brandon Browner posted on his Instagram account (via Katherine Terrell of NOLA.com) that he played through a torn MCL last season with the Saints. The recently released cornerback said he tore the ligament in the Saints’ first preseason game. This would help explain a steep decline that resulted in Pro Football Focus bestowing by far its worst full-time cornerback grade on Browner in 2015.
  • Paxton Lynch has a Cowboys visit lined up for Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, and will trek to San Diego for a Chargers meeting soon after. The 49ers also sent multiple representatives to observe the Memphis prospect at his pro day Wednesday, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
  • The Bills received good value on a nontraditional quarterback accord last season and still employ Tyrod Taylor but are taking a wide-ranging glance of this year’s quarterback crop. Bills reps ate dinner with Lynch and plan to visit with Connor Cook, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The team also already met with Christian Hackenberg, per Albert Breer of NFL.com, and has done plenty of research on Jared Goff.
  • Lynch had multiple work-related meals Wednesday, with the Saints meeting with the first-round prospect over lunch, Rapoport tweets. Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld will also visit the Saints soon.
  • The Cowboys met with Carson Wentz on Wednesday, according to the team’s website. The North Dakota State prospect also worked extensively with Cowboys coaches at the Senior Bowl.
  • Germain Ifedi has a busy schedule upcoming after performing for teams at Texas A&M’s pro day Wednesday. The Aggies’ latest tackle prospect has a slew of visits and workouts booked, WalterFootball.com’s Tony Pauline reports. Ifedi’s visit itinerary features summits with the Lions, Panthers, Bears and Texans after having already met with the Titans and Dolphins. The Cardinals, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Panthers, Texans and Falcons have scheduled workouts with Ifedi.
  • Veteran quarterback Seth Lobato is working out for the Panthers, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).

Zach Links contributed to this report

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