The San Francisco 49ers settled their biggest contract last week when they extended quarterback Colin Kaepernick. That deal will help the team figure out remaining money for 2014 free agents, as well as players like Vernon Davis and Alex Boone who are looking for new deals before 2016 free agency.
As the 49ers continue any negotiations, future deals will be impacted by plenty of other contracts out there. One team working on some new deals of their own is the Denver Broncos. General manager John Elway confirmed the team has begun negotiations with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas. The two Thomases were key cogs to the Broncos dominant offense, and both are entering the final season of their respective contracts.
Demaryius Thomas is second in the NFL over the last two seasons with 24 receiving touchdowns (behind Jimmy Graham). His numbers have been incredibly consistent the last two seasons. Along with his touchdowns, he had 92 receptions for 1,430 yards in 2013, and 94 receptions for 1,434 yards in 2012. After a stop and go start in 2010 and 2011, Thomas has really put it all together since Peyton Manning came to town. Even if he gets a boost by having a QB like Manning, he still is putting together the monster numbers.
Julius Thomas is coming off a breakout season in 2013. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft having only played basketball in college. Thomas dealt with injuries and general ineffectiveness through the first two seasons of his career, before blowing up last year. He finished the 2013 season with 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Demaryius is looking at a pretty huge contract, and one that does not really qualify as a benchmark for Crabtree. Well, I suppose it is a deal Crabtree would not be able to exceed, but he'll probably be getting a deal larger than whatever Crabtree will get. One thing that is worth noting is that Demaryius dealt with a torn Achilles shortly after the 2010 season. He ended up activated in time for the start of the 2011 season, but a broken pinkie finger cost him the first five games of the season.
Julius's negotiations will be interesting to follow given Vernon Davis's interest in a new deal. Thomas has one big year under his belt, and Davis exceeded that for the most part. Davis had 13 fewer receptions, but 62 more receiving yards and one more touchdown. The important thing to note is that Davis remained the complete tight end in terms of showing his blocking ability. Thomas was a great receiving option, but he was more like a Jimmy Graham type in terms of being used more as a receiver than a blocker.
The Denver Post article mentioned that Julius Thomas might be looking for $7 million per year. That would put him somewhere in the top six or seven contracts depending on how high it goes. It will be most interesting to see how much guaranteed money this kind of deal nets him. If the 49ers do plan on re-working Vernon Davis's contract, this could potentially factor into their own negotiations. The 49ers are not going to be pressured into a deal that they view is overpaying, but if Julius Thomas gets a deal done soon, it would potentially enter the conversation.