Four franchise-tagged players remain unsigned, and last week I asked Pro Football Rumors readers whether Justin Houston, Dez Bryant, and Jason Pierre-Paul would sign long-term contracts with their respective teams this summer. In all three instances, most respondents believed that those stars are more likely to play out the 2015 season on a one-year franchise tender rather than signing a multiyear extension.
We’ll see if we buck that trend today, as we examine the fourth and final franchised player who is still technically a free agent. Demaryius Thomas received a $12.823MM tender from the Broncos, but has yet to sign, as the two sides mull a longer-term agreement.
Thomas has been a candidate for a contract extension for quite some time, and I explored his case for a lucrative multiyear pact last June. At the time, I noted that Peyton Manning‘s uncertain future in Denver muddies the waters on a deal for Thomas. After all, if he were to tack on four or five new seasons to his current franchise tag, Thomas would likely play out the majority of that contract with a quarterback besides Manning at the helm. Considering the bump Thomas’ numbers have received from Manning in recent years, that makes it tricky to ascertain the wideout’s value.
Still, even if the Broncos and Thomas may have a hard time pinpointing an annual salary (and an amount of guaranteed money) that makes sense for both sides, it would surprise me if they didn’t reach an accord at some point, likely before this year’s July 15 deadline. After all, the Broncos have let standout pass catchers like Eric Decker and Julius Thomas leave via free agency during the past two offseasons. Demaryius Thomas is a better all-around receiver than either of those players, and it makes sense that Denver would set aside some money and some cap space to eventually lock him up, rather than giving massive deals to lesser pass-catchers.
The last real update we heard on Thomas came back in April, when GM John Elway expressed some mild annoyance that the wideout wasn’t at Denver’s voluntary offseason workouts. However, Elway also reiterated at that point that extending Thomas is a top priority for the Broncos. I think it’ll happen within the next few weeks. What do you think?