Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver is fully expected to use a non-exclusive franchise tag on pending free agent Demaryius Thomas by today's 4pm ET deadline.
According to Mike Klis, there's a good chance Thomas delays signing the tender until the July 15 deadline, preserving the only (tiny) bit of leverage he holds. That would mean missing OTAs and minicamps, but from a player's perspective, there's very little reason to rush to sign a franchise tender.
Klis adds that last summer, the Broncos ($13M/year) and Thomas ($15M/year) were pretty far apart in their negotiation toward a long-term deal.
Based upon a $143M salary cap, the franchise tender for wideouts would amount to $12.797M on a one-year deal that becomes fully guaranteed upon signing. Using a non-exclusive tag would leave Thomas free to negotiate with other teams, but the Broncos would hold a right of first refusal, which they could exercise by matching the signed offer sheet.
Jeff Legwold says Denver would "almost certainly match" any offer sheet, but we doubt it's that clear cut. After all, the price of two first-round draft choices is a hefty one, and just like we did with Ryan Clady two years ago, it would be our recommendation that the Broncos take those picks and run with them.
As great as Demaryius is - and even as Peyton Manning's career winds down - adding two more first-rounders would give Denver a massive stockpile with which to shape its long-term future. Holding two first-rounders in each of the 2015 and 2016 Drafts would allow the Broncos to either refresh their roster with plenty of top talent, or package picks to go after an elite prospect or two. The possibilities are endless.
Of course, every NFL franchise holds that same understanding, which is why players never change teams in this manner. But we, and the the Broncos, can hope that someone bites on Demaryius this spring.
Peter King, who could see the Raiders eventually ending up in St. Louis, of all places, writes this about Peyton Manning in his latest MMQB column:
I think Peyton Manning and the Broncos are likely to agree to a restructured contract soon—a re-done deal that will make neither side happy. Why? If I were Manning, I’d hardly think I deserve a pay adjustment, after throwing more touchdown passes than anyone in football over the past three years. And the Broncos would want it to be less than it’ll end up being, most likely. But there’s little doubt it’s going to get done.
Of Denver's big pending free agents, John Clayton thinks Rahim Moore is the only one who might follow John Fox to Chicago.
Oakland is expected to cut DE LaMarr Woodley halfway into his two-year deal.
In Eric Kush, the cap-strapped Chiefs reportedly think they have a viable replacement for pending free agent center Rodney Hudson.
The competition committee may consider increasing team roster sizes from 53 to 55.
Mike Mayock updated his ranking of the top five draft prospects at each position.
Unsurprisingly, Football Perspective readers seem to have a pretty good understanding of just how great Terrell Davis was, ranking him the 16th best back in history.