Broncos fans are mad at Julius Thomas, just like John Elway wants them to be

The Broncos and Julius Thomas were close to a contract extension as recently as the end of last August, says Thomas's agent, Frank Bauer, in an interview with the DP. However, the Broncos only offered conditional guarantees kicking in starting in 2015, with no increase to Thomas's minimum $645K salary for 2014.

As Bauer tells it, the two sides were close to a deal on the day of Denver's preseason finale at Dallas - with Thomas preparing to purchase a home in the area - but the team never got back to the agent.

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Elway: If no deal, Broncos will use franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas

During his Thursday presser from the combine, someone apparently asked John Elway a question not related to Peyton Manning's status for 2015. How dare they, right? Anyway, Elway confirmed that Denver will use its franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas if they two sides are unable to reach a longterm agreement by the March 2 tag deadline.

The franchise tender for wideouts should be somewhere around $13M for one year. Once the tag is applied, Demaryius and Denver will face a July 15 deadline to sign a longterm deal. As far as signing the tender - which makes it fully guaranteed - it will be in Thomas's best interest to hold off on that until that July deadline.

Broncos need to get Gary Kubiak a fullback, and his old one is available

Although the Manning Offense doesn't require a fullback, Gary Kubiak's does, and the new head coach says the Broncos will be looking for candidates this week at the combine. Kubes also mentioned that smaller tight ends have often functioned as fullbacks for him, which brings us to James Casey, who was cut by the Eagles on Thursday.

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Report: Broncos to meet with agents for many pending free agents, but not Julius Thomas’s

The Broncos will reportedly meet this week with the agents for pending free agents Demaryius Thomas, Terrance Knighton, Orlando Franklin, and Rahim Moore. However, they will not meet with the agent for Julius Thomas, according to Mike Klis.

Last summer, Denver had apparenlty offered Thomas a deal worth around $8M per year. But that was before his latest ankle injury caused him to miss three games and practically wiped out his production. Since then, there's been very little to suggest the 26-year old will return to Denver for a fifth season.

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Wes Welker intends to play in 2015

Contrary to an earlier report from FOX Sports, Wes Welker has told the Denver Post that he intends to play a 12th NFL season in 2015. The legendary slot wideout is scheduled to hit free agency after making $12M over two seasons in Denver.

Given Denver's caponomic situation, his concussion history, and the hiring of Gary Kubiak - in whose offense #3 wideouts tend not to excel - it would be a surprise to see Welker back with the Broncos in 2015.

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Report: 49ers pulled offer from Adam Gase over DC

Hey, remember that time when the 49ers were supposed to name Adam Gase their next head coach, but then went with Jim Tomsula instead, just hours later? According to a report from Tim Kawakami, the Niners pulled a fast one on Gase, first agreeing to his choice of assistants, but then trying to foist Tomsula on him as his DC.

Per Kawakami, Gase quickly nixed that idea, and the Niners promoted Tomsula.

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Mort: Expect announcement from Peyton Manning next week

According to Chris Mortensen, Peyton Manning is likely to announce sometime next week his decision to play in 2015. Mort had previously reported that a decision might have come as early as last week.

Manning reportedly met with John Elway on Thursday to discuss the possibility of returning for a fourth season in Denver. His $19M salary becomes fully guaranteed on March 9.

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Klis: John Elway met with Peyton Manning on Thursday

Peyton Manning, chaperoned by Joe Ellis, flew to Denver on Thursday and met with John Elway to discuss his near term future, but is not yet ready to announce a decision, according to Mike Klis. Manning's team physical will take place sometime between Feb 23 and Mar 5, and his $19M salary becomes fully guaranteed on Mar 9, the final day of the 2014 league year.

All signs have pointed to Manning returning in 2015, and Klis says Thursday's meeting is another positive indicator. Earlier in the week, Jason Cole reported that Elway & Co. weren't absolutely certain about wanting Peyton back.

Wes Welker reportedly considering retirement

Pending unrestricted free agent Wes Welker is seriously considering retirement after 12 seasons, according to Mike Garafolo. In 2014, Welker played only 27 snaps fewer than he did in 2013, but his production fell off signficantly - from 73 catches, 778 yards, and 10 touchdowns, to 49 catches, 464 yards, and two touchdowns.

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Report: John Elway not 100% on wanting Peyton Manning to return

Recent speculation from all corners suggests Peyton Manning wants to play in 2015. However, Jason Cole reports that the Broncos and John Elway aren't certain about wanting Manning back, especially if he's only going to play for one more year. As transcribed by FOX Sports:

At this point in his career, the Broncos could fail Peyton Manning for any reason, including the four neck surgeries that he has already had. In talking to sources close to the team, there's a big question here about whether the Broncos want to bring him back for one more year. They're going to have to feel very comfortable about this.

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