Demaryius Thomas

Patriots Rumors: Trades, McCourty, Tobin

The free agency defection of Danny Amendola, the trade of Brandin Cooks, the releases of Kenny Britt and Jordan Matthews, and potentially the advancing age of a now-32-year-old Julian Edelman leave the Patriots somewhat vulnerable at wide receiver. Might the NFL’s most trade-happy team consider one to bolster perhaps Tom Brady‘s final receiving corps? Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests (via NBC Sports Boston) one that would be quite the blockbuster, even if it could be a tad of a reach.

Describing “a weird sense coming out of Denver as it relates to Demaryius Thomas,” Florio posits a Thomas-to-the-Patriots trade. While prefacing this with the fact that said weird sense might not end up being meaningful regarding Thomas’ Broncos status, Florio points out Patriots OC Josh McDaniels drafted Thomas in 2010 and the Pats suddenly need receivers more than the Broncos appear to. That said, the 30-year-old wideout is one of the best players in Broncos history, and John Elway trading a key player to the Patriots may not be realistic. The Broncos have liked what they’ve seen from Courtland Sutton and fourth-rounder DaeSean Hamilton this preseason, and Denver cut the cord on Super Bowl starter T.J. Ward to save money after the 2017 preseason. But the Broncos picked up Thomas’ 2018 option — he’s attached to an $8.5MM base salary and $12MM cap number — and have struggled for years to develop receiving depth. Thomas is, however, due a non-guaranteed $14MM next season, the final year of his contract. So, he very well could be entering the last season of his Broncos tenure.

Here’s the latest out of New England:

  • The Broncos don’t have a clear pipeline to the Patriots, but the Bob Quinn-run Lions do. And Mike Reiss of ESPN.com suggests a possible Golden Tate-to-New England transaction between Belichick and one of his former lieutenants. Reiss posits a deal involving contract-year defensive tackle Malcom Brown and linebacker Elandon Roberts but estimates the Lions probably wouldn’t part with Tate, even though he’s in a contract year and no substantial extension discussions have occurred. Tate, 30, is set to earn $7MM in base salary this season.
  • While his twin brother’s been one of the NFL’s top safeties for a while, Jason McCourty‘s worked as a cornerback. However, the offseason trade acquisition began practicing at safety this week and lined up there in Friday night’s preseason game, Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston notes. Bill Belichick said (via NESN.com) McCourty’s safety reps were about gauging possibilities rather than a permanent move. McCourty also saw time at corner Friday night. New England houses Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung at safety and less experience at corner after Malcolm Butler‘s departure, but it appears Belichick will determine his newer McCourty’s versatility.
  • Isaiah Wynn‘s injury creates a void for the Patriots at swing tackle for the time being, and 2018 UFA addition Matt Tobin saw time as Trent Brown‘s backup at left tackle. The former Eagles cog may find a way onto New England’s 53-man roster because of Wynn’s season-ending injury, per Perry. The Pats have LaAdrian Waddle as a swing tackle, but with Tobin having extensive guard experience, he might bring sufficient value as a bench option at multiple spots.

Thomas Eyeing Several More Seasons

Hip and neck troubles plagued Demaryius Thomas the past two seasons, enough so the Broncos’ top wide receiver contemplated near-future retirement — either after the 2018 season or the ’19 campaign, James Palmer of NFL.com reports. But a now-reinvigorated Thomas is looking at his career differently.

A new diet and a leaner physique has the 30-year-old wideout wanting to extend his career well into the 2020s, even though he acknowledges things change quickly.

Now I’m thinking, 15 or 16 (years),” Thomas told Palmer. “Like, for real, I’m going to be like Larry Fitzgerald. Maybe even more. It just depends, you know? I mean, s—, tomorrow I could finish my career off of one crazy injury. But yeah, my mindset has changed.”

Thomas dropped more than 10 pounds this offseason, being currently under 220, per Palmer. And he’s obviously not experiencing the kind of hip pain that bothered him in 2016 and ’17. Even entering this season on the heels of the aforementioned injury-restricted ones, Thomas has played in 107 straight games since the 2011 season.

For, like, the past two years, for real, it’s been my neck and my hip,” Thomas said, via Palmer. “It was just times I couldn’t compete my best. And you know, sometimes, I remember one game we were playing the Patriots, and the (then-Patriots) corner (Logan Ryan) called it out. He said, ‘You’re not yourself.’ And I was like, ‘Man, I’m doing whatever I can to try to get (coverage) attention.’ ”

Like, for real, with all the problems with my hip, especially with my hip, it was like, sometimes I couldn’t even stop.”

Palmer notes one of Thomas’ hip labrums is partially torn. It’s not known what medical treatments Thomas underwent (if any) to recover from these maladies in order to be ready for this season.

If Thomas wants to play well into his 30s, he may have to relocate. By virtue of the Broncos picking up Thomas’ $4MM option, the Georgia Tech product will play a fourth season on his five-year, $70MM deal. But Thomas’ 2019 contract year will feature a $17.53MM cap number — up $5MM from this season’s — and the Broncos shedding that salary will save them $14MM. Of course, Emmanuel Sanders‘ contract expires after the 2019 season as well, and he’s due nearly $13MM in 2019.

With the Broncos having drafted Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton this year, it seems a somewhat safe bet to assume at least one of their longtime starters will be elsewhere in 2019. Though, they might be hesitant to part ways with both Thomas and Sanders given their importance to the Denver passing game the past four seasons. The Broncos and Thomas believe both rookies will make an immediate impact, per Palmer, with Sutton in particular drawing rave reviews in camp. Denver, though, has failed repeatedly to identify auxiliary receiving talent over the past three years, with previous Day 2 draft choices Cody Latimer and Carlos Henderson not working out.

Although Thomas’ 1,000-yard streak stopped at five due to 2017’s 949-yard showing, he passed Shannon Sharpe in both career receiving yardage and touchdowns (as Broncos) last season. He’s second behind Rod Smith in both categories with the Broncos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Exercise Demaryius Thomas’ Option

The Broncos have exercised Demaryius Thomas‘ $4MM option to trigger the final two years on his deal, according to Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post (on Twitter). This was the expected move, even though Thomas was once speculated to be a potential cap casualty.

Thomas has become one of the greatest wide receivers in franchise history and he’ll have a chance to build on his credentials in a ninth season in Denver. The former first-round pick has functioned as the Broncos’ No. 1 wide receiver since his second season, and John Elway said at the Combine that Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders — also a rumored cut for a franchise that had Kirk Cousins on its radar — would be back next season.

With Case Keenum now in the fold at a deal believed to be worth around $18MM per year, the Broncos have more breathing room regarding the salaries of their veteran wideouts than they would have had Cousins agreed to come to Denver. Thomas will count $12.3MM toward Denver’s 2018 cap.

Thomas and Sanders have been the Broncos’ starting tandem since 2014, and the duo has been vital for a franchise that’s had trouble identifying supporting-cast talent at receiver or from its tight ends. While the Broncos’ quarterback situation helped sink the 2017 team, Thomas still graded as Bleacher Report’s No. 6 outside receiver. His string of 1,000-yard seasons stopped at nine, but the former Georgia Tech talent still caught 83 passes for 949 yards and five touchdowns.

Despite experiencing injury trouble during his first two years, Thomas has become one of the most durable players at his job. He’s played in all 16 regular-season games for six straight years. He’s now entering his age-30 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Rumors: Thomas, Sanders, Wolfe

Here’s a quick look at the latest out of Denver:

  • As had been previously reported, the Broncos plan to retain wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, general manager John Elway told reporters, including Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Specifically, Denver will exercise its $4MM option on Thomas, which will lock the 30-year-old pass-catcher into a $8.5MM base salary for the 2018 season. Sanders, meanwhile, is due an $8.15MM base salary next year. While neither receiver performed up to expectations in 2017, the Broncos likely want to keep both veterans around as they search for a new quarterback.
  • Similarly, the Broncos will bring back defensive end Derek Wolfe, who’d been mentioned as a possible cap casualty, tweets Jhabvala. Wolf, 28, signed a four-year, $36.7MM extension prior to the 2016 campaign, forgoing free agency in order to re-sign with Denver. Since that time, Wolfe has been limited by minor injuries, and played on fewer than half of the Broncos’ defensive snaps a season ago. Pro Football Focus ranked Wolfe — who managed two sacks in 2017 — as the No. 58 interior defender among 122 qualifiers. He’ll collect a base salary of $8MM and count for ~$10.769MM on Denver’s cap in 2018.
  • While Thomas, Sanders, and Wolfe appear safe, Elway refused to give the same declaration on cornerback Aqib Talib or running back C.J. Anderson, per Jhabvala (Twitter link). Denver is reportedly attempting to trade Talib (and his $11MM salary), but the club could release the veteran defensive back if no interest is found. Anderson, meanwhile, may also be cut, and the Dolphins — who signed Anderson to a restricted free agent offer sheet in 2016 — are expected to pursue him.

West Notes: Rams, 49ers, Broncos, Raiders

Two Rams defenders — linebacker Mark Barron and Kayvon Webster — recently underwent shoulder surgery, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). While Barron’s operation will allow him to be ready for training camp, Webster might not be available due to the torn Achilles which ended his 2017 campaign. Indeed, Webster had his shoulder procedure now so that he can rehabilitate both injuries at the same time, per Rapoport. Los Angeles will be counting on the 27-year-old Webster next season, as No. 1 cornerback Trumaine Johnson is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency and won’t be franchise-tagged for a third consecutive campaign. Webster, who followed Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips from Denver last offseason, is entering his contract year.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Daniel Kilgore‘s new three-year deal with the 49ers is worth nearly $12MM and and contains $7MM in guarantees, tweets Rapoport. Kilgore, who was roughly a month away from becoming a free agent, said he accepted a team-friendly contract so San Francisco can ink quality free agents this offseason, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Kilgore was a backup or injured for much of the first five years of his career, but he’s started 29 games for the 49ers over the past two seasons. For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus ranked Kilgore as just the 23rd-best center in the league in 2017, but San Francisco is clearly higher on him than that finish would indicate.
  • The Broncos and the Seahawks are two teams who could dictate the 2018 offseason, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com writes. While one recent report indicated Denver wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are likely to stick on the club’s 2018 roster, other general mangers believe one or both will be available on the trade market. The Broncos are also trying to land a franchise quarterback and deal cornerback Aqib Talib, meaning they’ll be heavily involved in transactional machinations over the next few weeks. Seattle, meanwhile, is facing change at multiple areas along its vaunted defense, as injuries to Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor could cloud the team’s plans.
  • Free agent linebacker Michael Scherer recently worked out for the Raiders, reports veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Scherer, a Missouri product, appeared in 26 games for the Tigers from 2014-15 before a knee injury ended his senior season after seven contests in 2016. He’s yet to land an NFL contract, but he did audition for the Bears and Giants last year.

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.

West Notes: Smith, Cardinals, Broncos

During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Alex Smith fielded questions about his future with the Chiefs. The 14th-year quarterback wishes he had more control in this process. He could well be traded for the second time in his career.

I wish I knew,” Smith said about his future (video link). “I’ve got a year under contract there in Kansas City. I wish I was in control of this thing. I wish I was the one who got to do this. That’s just not the reality. … I love where I’m at. I feel like we underachieved. Offensively, last year, I felt we did some awesome things. Who knows? I’ve been through this before, the trade deal. A lot of crazy stuff can happen.”

The conversation pivoted to the Browns, a proposition that has been mentioned recently. A team that has lost 31 of its past 32 games does not sound like an ideal place to go for a veteran quarterback that’s been to the playoffs four times in the past five years, and Smith seemed to confirm as such during his interview.

I haven’t even thought about that,” Smith said about a Cleveland trade. “They’ve got nowhere to go but up. One and 31 over the past two years just sounds amazing. If that’s the case and you’re going somewhere, yeah, you want to go somewhere where you have a chance to have success.”

The soon-to-be 34-year-old passer has one year left on his Chiefs contract, and it seems likely Kansas City (as of now projected to be $9MM-plus over the 2018 cap) will pull the trigger on a deal.

Here’s more from the West divisions.

  • Steve Wilks will not be calling plays and running the Cardinals‘ game-day operations this season, with Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (on Twitter) revealing new DC Al Holcomb will call plays. This will be new territory for Holcomb, the Panthers’ linebackers coach the past five years.
  • The Cardinals’ running backs coach during Emmitt Smith‘s farewell season in 2004, Kirby Wilson is close to a deal to return to the desert. Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports Wilson interviewed for the job and is considered a strong candidate to again fill that role. Wilson coached Arizona’s backs from 2004-06 before moving on. He spent the past two seasons as the Browns’ run-game coordinator. Wilson’s coached seven teams’ running backs, dating back to 1997. One of Wilson’s stops was in Minnesota, where he oversaw Adrian Peterson‘s third rushing championship season in 2015.
  • If the Broncos are going to pursue Kirk Cousins and what could be a record contract, they might have to part ways with one of their Pro Bowl wide receivers because of cap considerations, Mike Klis of 9News writes. While noting it would be a surprise if John Elway parts ways with both, Klis writes one could be jettisoned. The Broncos, though, have experienced consistent issues finding supporting-cast wideouts; everything has funneled through Thomas and Sanders since 2015. And Denver’s revolving door at quarterback has contributed to the 30-year-olds’ statistical regression. The Broncos must decide between Feb. 10 and March 14 if they want to pick up the $4MM option that buys back the final two years of Thomas’ deal, which calls for a $12.1MM cap hit in 2018. Cutting Sanders ($10.94MM 2018 cap number), though, would cost $5.375MM in dead money.

West Notes: Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers

The Broncos have fallen quite a ways from their Super Bowl 50 win about two years ago. The team’s biggest question mark is obviously at quarterback, but there are a number of questions that John Elway and company will have to answer over the course of the offseason, explains Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

Jhabvala mentions that the Broncos wide receiver position could really change over the next few months depending on how the front office approaches some of the playmakers that could enter free agency. The big name she mentions is Demaryius Thomas who could test the open market should Denver decline his $4MM option. He’s controllable for non-guaranteed salaries for the next two seasons, but the team could save some money or re-negotiate a new contract before a decision has to be made about that option. In addition to Thomas, Cody Latimer is an unrestricted free agent, Bennie Fowler is a restricted free agent and Emmanuel Sanders is a controllable veteran that could hit the trade block if the team rather invest in Thomas long-term.

Jhabvala also focuses on veteran cornerback Aqib Talib. She notes how he’ll turn 32 in February and is set to make $11MM in 2018. Although, the Broncos would only be responsible for $1MM if he were to be released. With Chris Harris and Bradley Roby under contract as well, it’s unlikely the team would hold onto all three for next season.

The article finally keys in on Denver’s starting running back, C.J. Anderson. Anderson is paid well for his position as he’ll make $4.4MM next season. However, his last two years of his original four-year deal that he signed in 2016 are non-guaranteed, so there is definitely significant money to be saved should the team move onto the likes of Devontae Booker, De’Angelo Henderson or potentially a another running back that they draft in April.

Here’s more from the NFL’s West divisions:

  • Denver has to deal with an off-the-field problem at receiver as well. Their 2017 third-round draft pick, Carlos Henderson, was arrested this afternoon for possession of marijuana, per Brad Cesak of NBC6News (Twitter link). The 23-year-old was placed on the injured reserve with a thumb injury in the preseason, but could face league discipline for his most recent incident. This would be his first offense, but it’s not encouraging for a Broncos team potentially looking for steady contributors on that side of the ball.
  • The news that Pete Carroll would be replacing Darrell Bevell with Brian Schottenheimer as Seattle’s next offensive coordinator was met with some skepticism across the football world. However, Seahawks backup quarterback Austin Davis thinks that the change will bring some positivity to the team’s offense in 2018, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Schottenheimer coached Davis for three seasons while the two were in St. Louis. “We were very creative in St. Louis,” Davis told 710 ESPN Seattle. “We threw a lot of things at the defense, whether it was drop-back, whether it was play-action, whether it was quarterback movement, we had it all. And we were a really good screen team. If there was one thing I could pick out from last year, we couldn’t run screens.” The Seahawks offense was carried by Russell Wilson last season and is in need of a new identity as the team looks to get back into the postseason.
  • 49ers promising rookie linebacker Reuben Foster recently got in trouble with the law for having possession of marijuana, which is likely to effect his paycheck in the years to come. The 2017 first-round pick had about $2.5MM in guaranteed money from 2018-2020, but that will probably be voided because of specific wording in his contract, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Corry explained that Foster had a clause in his contract that if he were to be fined for a violation of the NFL’s drug policy, that money would lose its guaranteed status. The former Alabama defender fell down the draft board a bit last year because of some personality issues, and his immaturity has now clearly cost him in terms of his wallet.
  • Current 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made some extra cash after the Patriots beat the Titans to advance to the AFC Championship, according to Corry in another tweet. Corry reports that Garoppolo received an extra $51k in playoff money for the victory because he was with New England for at least eight games this past regular season.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Broncos, Dolphins

Now that newly-hired Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has begun filling out his staff, a lot of his work will now shift to the personnel side of the franchise. Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Journal-Review previewed many of the decisions that Gruden and the front office will have to work through this offseason.

Gehlken starts by stating that the team is likely to move on from number one wide receiver Michael Crabtree and cornerback Sean Smith. Releasing both players would save money and allow the team to continue to get younger at both positions.

However, a more difficult decision may lie with soon-to-be 32-year-old running back Marshawn Lynch. His salary will jump from $1.35MM to $4MM in 2018. On March 18, he will receive a $1MM roster bonus if he is still on the roster. Lynch’s season was rather inconsistent and running backs that play into their 30’s don’t have the best track record, but it would still be difficult to move on from a talent like Lynch.

“You know, I’ve never met Marshawn Lynch,” Gruden said. “Even as a broadcaster, I asked for Marshawn Lynch in production meetings and I never got to meet him. So I’m anxious to sit down with Marshawn and meet him. We’ll talk about his future and the Raiders. I can’t wait. He came back to the Raiders for similar, I think, reasons that I did.”

In recent seasons, the Raiders have used free agency as a primary source of getting key players, and while the defense has been arguably the main area of concern, Gehlken passes along that Gruden is also is looking to bring new ideas to the offensive side of the ball.

“We are going to have to look at our roster carefully and see, do we have a fullback? Who is the feature back? Who are the receivers?” Gruden said Tuesday. “A lot of things have to be determined, and I think you have to have an offense that is adaptable, that is versatile and can adjust to a number of certain areas. That is what we need to do. Get through today, lock the doors and get to work.”

Here’s more stories from around the AFC:

  • In news from another AFC West club, the Broncos recently inked former head coach Gary Kubiak to a larger front office role. However, Kubiak could still draw interest from teams looking for a new offensive coordinator, speculates Mike Klis of 9News. Though Klis mostly shuts down that notion because the former Super Bowl winning coach is currently under contract for one more year in Denver, which would force a prospective team to pay up a draft pick in order to pry him away.
  • The Broncos also have a decision to make regarding star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The 30-year-old pass catcher has two years remaining on his current deal should his $4MM option for next season be picked up before the first day of the 2018 league year, reports Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post (Twitter link). However, if the Broncos do decline the option, the final two years would voided and he would become a free agent this offseason. This would also result in $3.1MM of dead money. His salary figures for the next two years are $12.03MM and $17.5MM, respectively. The Broncos need to get younger at the wide receiver position and could be served well letting Thomas walk as he enters the wrong side of his 30’s.
  • The Dolphins offensive line could undergo somewhat of a makeover this offseason and one part of that could come from one of their veterans switching positions. Ted Larsen played in the team’s final eight games at left guard after missing the first half of the season with an injury. However, the 30-year-old would like to switch to right guard in 2018, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Larsen told Jackson “That’s my preference, I played there since 2014.” Jackson notes that fellow starting guard Jesse Davis has shown no reservations about changing roles, so it’s a real possibility that Larsen could have his wish granted in training camp. Although, the writer did add that the team will likely bring in some competition through the draft or free agency. Miami is also not likely to hold onto right tackle Ja’Wuan James for his $9MM 2018 salary figure. Veteran tackle Jermon Bushrod was injured at the end of the year and will be a free agent this offseason as well. This could open up a spot for a prospective high round draft pick with the Dolphins currently holding the 11th overall selection.

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders

The Chiefs did in fact interview a minority candidate for their general manager position — in compliance with the Rooney Rule — but that individual does not wish to be identified, tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. As such, the Fritz Pollard Alliance approved of Kansas City’s GM search. “The Chiefs left it up to the individual candidates and their agents whether they wanted their names out there or not,” chairman John Wooten told Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “But I can assure you that they complied. We are comfortable [with their interview process].”

Aside from Brett Veach, only three other contenders’ interviews were public knowledge: Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden, and Chiefs co-director of player personnel Mike Borgonzi. All personnel interview requests must be made to the league office, meaning the unnamed candidate may work in the media, according to to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who speculates ESPN commentator Louis Riddick — who was linked to the Kansas City vacancy — may have been the interviewee.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Nearing age-30 and coming off a down season (by his standards), Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas finally feels healthy after a hip injury nagged him in 2016, and he feels he can continue playing at a high level even as he enters the twilight of his career. “I got longer than 30 [years],” Thomas told Aric DiLalla of DenverBroncos.com. “I think I’ve got a couple good years [left]. Like I’ve been saying before, this is the best I’ve felt my whole career. I haven’t had the problems I usually have with my hip, because that was one of the things that held me back.” Playing without Peyton Manning for the first time since 2011, Thomas posted 90 receptions for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns a season ago.
  • While the full details and structure of Gabe Jackson‘s five-year, $56MM extension with the Raiders aren’t yet know, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter links) has passed along a few particulars of the deal. Oakland, well-known fans of the pay-as-you-go contract structure, employed that technique with Jackson, per Corry, meaning the club did not use a signing bonus. Such a composition should allow the Raiders to easily exit the pact in future years. Jackson’s 2017 cap charge has now increased from roughly $1.945MM to ~$10.648MM, meaning Oakland utilized about $8.7MM of its available cap space.
  • In case you missed it, PFR’s Sam Robinson reviewed the Broncos‘ offseason earlier this week, recapping and analyzing the major signings, departures, trades, and other notable offseason events for Denver.