It would appear the Packers raised Demaryius Thomas's price tag by re-signing wide receiver Randall Cobb to a reported four-year, $40M contract. That's a big number on an annual basis, and takes a top wideout off the market.
They're not similar players, as Thomas is a physical freak and outside man-beater, while Cobb is smaller and plays inside. Cobb has just one year of elite production, and was limited by injury to just six games in 2013. Thomas, on the other hand, has been one of the league's top handful of receivers for three years running, and hasn't missed a game since 2011.
But at $10M/year, Cobb will be paid a higher AAV than he was apparently seeking, and more than any slot receiver has ever gotten. And according to former Bucs GM Mark Dominik, Cobb could have done even better on the open market.
Chances are, no other team is going to bother negotiating with the franchise-tagged Thomas, because frankly, that's a waste of time and resources. Demaryius will be a Bronco in 2015; it's just a matter whether he's playing out his tender or the first year of a long-term deal.
If Cobb is worth $10M/year to the Packers - a team for which he's not even the primary receiving threat - then how can the Broncos continue to argue that Thomas deserves only $13M annually, as Mike Klis reported? That's a tough sell, especially given the inflated contracts that have been doled out around the league in recent days.
By the way, if Thomas does play out his $12.823M tender, then the Broncos will again have to either tag or lose him a year from now. But a 2016 tender would include a 20% raise, bringing the one-year figure to a whopping $15.39M guaranteed. It wouldn't be in Denver's best interest to pay Demaryius $28.21M in fully guaranteed salaries over the next two seasons without having him under control beyond 2016.
Unless the Broncos think they can replace or do without Thomas by then, they're going to have to get something done this offseason, and it would seem Demaryius is that much closer to getting his $15M asking price after Cobb's deal.