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It may be the offseason, but it’s Demaryius Thomas‘ day in the spotlight, apparently.
First, President Barack Obama pardoned Thomas’ mother from prison, one of 46 people he commuted today. Katrina Smith, DT’s mom, will finally be allowed to watch her son play football.
Then, the NFLPA started investigating the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys surrounding possible collusion. Thomas and fellow former first-round wide receiver Dez Bryant are each in the midst of holding out, both of them looking for massive money. The NFLPA is looking into whether or not the two teams had contact about Bryant and Thomas’ contract negotiations, which could allow the teams to set the bar slightly lower.
And around 7:30 p.m. MT, news broke that the Broncos are in close contract talks with Thomas as all these rumors swirl.
Mike Klis first reported the story and is now saying Denver is offering DT upwards of $12 million per year. Other sources confirm Thomas is looking, and likely to get, more guaranteed money than Calvin Johnson did in his recent deal. That was $48 million guaranteed.
Thomas has definitely been a top-5 receiver in the NFL with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. Over the last three seasons, he’s averaged 99 receptions for 1,494 yards and 11 touchdowns per year.
It’s not just the raw production, either; Thomas’ versatility is what sets him apart. He’s got the blazing speed, he’s quick enough to juke defenders out of their shoes, he’s big enough to stiff-arm linebackers away and makes some of the most acrobatic catches anyone’s seen on a football field.
If the Broncos want to go after a Super Bowl in this, possibly Manning’s final season, they must have Thomas signed and ready to go for training camp. The John Elway-led front office understands his importance, and it’s no surprise they’re approaching a deal in the final days before the Wednesday deadline. If they can’t sign him by then, Thomas would have to sit out the season and would be a free agent after all the games are played.
Denver will get him signed, there’s no cause for concern. At least, not yet. If this goes into Tuesday night, then it’s time to worry.
The real concern will come afterwards; Did Denver and Dallas act dastardly, behind the players’ backs, in order to ensure neither overpaid for their player? That answer will have to wait.