Broncos continue public negotiation with Demaryius Thomas

Last updated: Jun 14, 2014 11:16 AM

According to Vic Lombardi and the Denver Post, the Broncos have made a five-year offer to Demaryius Thomas, who is entering the final season of his rookie deal.

However, Mike Florio reports that no formal offers have been extended, with his source bluntly characterizing the negotiation as "nothing going on."

It doesn't require much of a leap to conclude that the Broncos are the source for Lombardi and the DP, while Thomas's agent is Florio's.

John Elway has said he wants to get a deal done before the start of training camp, which would indicate a five- or six-week window.

Basically, these latest reports represent the next step in the public negotiation between the two sides.

Earlier in the week, Klis suggested that Thomas might expect a contract averaging around $12M per year.

Considering that Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald pull down more than $16M annually, while Mike Wallace's deal is worth $12M on average, we're guessing it will take something more like $14M/year to lock down Demaryius.

Of course, it's really all about the (full) guarantees, and average annual payouts don't mean very much.

And as we've been over many times here, every NFL contract is really just a series of one-year deals, anyway.

With the league's very best players, those guarantees extend into the second year.

Look for that to be the case with whatever deal Demaryius eventually signs.

If he gets a so-called five-year deal worth $70M, it will be advertised as including probably $35M-40M in guarantees.

But the full guarantees would probably end up closer to $20M, covering his 2014 salary and part of his 2015 pay.

The DP will continually float the notion that Denver can just use its ~$12M franchise tag on Thomas next offseason.

However, the tender will not be $12M, and would just leave the Broncos in a worse position a year later.

The franchise tender for wideouts was $12.312M this year (a significant jump from the 2012 figure of $10.537M), and will surely rise significantly along with the salary cap.

A 2015 cap of $148M could mean a wideout tender figure of $14M or more.

The 2016 cap figures to be even higher - perhaps to the $160M neighborhood.

Guarantees will be even bigger that offseason, especially those given to players of Thomas's caliber.

Of course, this means that whatever deal Demaryius gets might look like a bargain in two or three years' time.

The Broncos will have to cross that bridge when they get to it.

For now, it would be wise for them to get a deal done sooner than later, as Elway says he wants to.

But there are five or six weeks until camp begins, and nearly three months until Week 1 of the regular season.

Expect more reports and counterreports to emerge regarding the negotiation; our recommendation is to not get too worked up over any of them.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM