The Broncos and Demaryius Thomas‘ agent, Todd France, have recently exchanged proposals, multiple NFL sources tell Mike Klis of 9NEWS. However, there’s a pretty big gap for the two sides to bridge. Sources say that Thomas is looking for a deal that would exceed Calvin Johnson‘s mammoth contract. Denver, meanwhile, is offering “substantially more” than the contract of Minnesota’s Mike Wallace, who is currently the league’s second-highest paid receiver with a deal that averages $12MM a year, but less than the Johnson deal.
Johnson, of course, is the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL by a significant margin. The 29-year-old inked a $113MM+ deal with the Lions that is paying him upwards of $16MM per season with nearly $49MM guaranteed. The Broncos would argue that Johnson’s deal is an outlier because of the unique circumstances surrounding those negotiations – Johnson was set to earn a cap-crippling amount of money under the old wage scale and the Lions had to pay up in the long term order to prevent that from happening. However, Thomas’ camp is pushing to top that contract on the grounds that the salary cap has risen from $120.6MM to $143.3MM in the last few years.
Thomas’ stats over the last three years compare favorably to Megatron’s. The Broncos standout has hauled in 297 catches for 4,483 yards and 35 touchdowns while Johnson has 277 catches for 4,533 yards and 25 touchdowns. That disparity can partly be chalked up to Johnson’s injuries, however, as he has missed five games during that span. Thomas is also coming off a career year in which he racked up 111 catches and averaged more than 100 yards per game.