Broncos Unlikely To Cut Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders

Although Broncos wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have both been mentioned as potential cap casualties, the “belief” is that both are safe bets to stick on Denver’s roster given that the club is searching for a top-end quarterback this offseason, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders (Vertical)

General manager John Elway is reportedly considering any and all options to improve the Broncos’ quarterback situation over the coming months. As PFR’s Sam Robinson detailed in an extensive look at Denver’s offseason priorities, the Broncos could theoretically target a free agent solution such as Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, or Tyrod Taylor, or perhaps look to draft a collegiate signal-caller like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, or Josh Allen. Either way, Denver’s ability to retain its top two pass-catchers should help the club’s next quarterback.

Additionally, salary cap space shouldn’t be a problem for the Broncos in 2018, so saving money by cutting Thomas or Sanders isn’t an absolute necessity. Although Denver currently boasts only $27MM in cap room (16th in the NFL), it can easily create more space through personnel moves that don’t involve Thomas or Sanders. The Broncos could release cornerback Aqib Talib, running back C.J. Anderson, and offensive tackle Menelik Watson — each of which is a rumored transaction — and catapult their available cap space to more than $40MM.

Thomas, 30, has two years left on his current contract, and is scheduled to count for roughly $12MM in 2018. Denver could release him and save nearly $5MM, but the team would also take on $7.06MM in dead money. A post-June 1 designation would create $8.5MM in savings, but having extra room in June wouldn’t help the Broncos sign a quarterback in April. Thomas managed only 949 receiving yards last season, his lowest total since 2011, but the lack of effective quarterback play in Denver played a large part in that lack of production.

Sanders was also affected by the Broncos’ dismal efforts under center, as he posted just 555 receiving yards while appearing in 12 games. Prior to 2017, the 30-year-old Sanders had produced three straight campaigns with at least 1,000 yards through the air. If they were to release Sanders, the Broncos would pick up ~$5.563MM in cap space but incur $5.375MM in dead money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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8 comments on “Broncos Unlikely To Cut Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders

  1. itslonelyatthetrop

    Anderson, Talib, and Watson being cut would just be good housekeeping. Cutting Thomas would be pointless, but Sanders might be addition by subtraction. I still don’t have much faith in the Broncos coaching staff, but when you have a good QB on your team, suddenly everyone’s coaching IQ goes up.

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  2. Chris

    Idk in what world would cutting Emmanuel Sanders be considered addition by subtraction. He’s arguably the best number 2 receiver in football

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    • itslonelyatthetrop

      At one point I’d agree, but he’s on the wrong side of 30. He had a bad season performance and health wise. It’s better to cut sooner than later.

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    • dugdog83

      Golden Tate. Davante Adams. Adam Thielen. All better WR2’s and that’s just the NFC North.

      Sanders is decent but Denver can’t cut him cuz they need him.

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      • JT19

        Those guys are WR1s, but I agree that there are just as good, if not some better WR2s out there. Martavis Bryant/JuJu Smith Schuster, Nelson Agholor, Michael Crabtree/Amari Cooper, Brandin Cooks/Julian Edelman (depending on who you would call WR1), Mohamed Sanu, Robert Woods. Outside of a healthy Edelman and Crabtree, none of those guys come with the track record that Sanders has but all of the guys I listed are just as good right now or can be better in a year or two.

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        • jessethegreat

          If Davante Adams is the #1 on the Packers (which I’m not about to argue against), Jordy is still a better #2 than Emmanuel.

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  3. Z-A
    Z-A

    Or restructure some deals to gain savings. Von Miller’s would create the greatest savings. Talib saves 11M by cutting him before June 1. Cut CJ saves 4.5M. Cut Sanders after June 1st save 8.25M – open up around 37.5M. If you think your window is the next 1 or 2 years…. sign Kirk. If not, draft a QB. Address your OL, DBs.

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  4. Max Jackson

    The Broncos are suffering from bad draft results. If they cut Sanders they’re going to have to pay roughly the same amount for a #2 veteran receiver.

    To maneuver from paying a veteran price, you go young. They have some decent special teams backs in Taylor, Fowler, and Latimer, but…

    My fear is the Broncos completely fall apart over Cousins. My second fear is Keenum gets tagged by Minnesota. If those two things happen, it doesn’t look like a very good reason to sell off the stable.

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