According to ESPN's Jeff Legwold, free agent Julius Thomas has made it clear to the Broncos he wants to be among the highest-paid tight ends in the league.
When healthy, Thomas has shown he can be a dominant mismatch creator -- especially in the red zone. But he's been injured in three of his four NFL seasons, often hampered by cumbersome ankle issues.
Julius will be asking for something just below the four-year, $40M deal Jimmy Graham got in July
The decision is an easy one for the Denver Broncos. With a choice between WR DeMaryius Thomas or TE Julius Thomas in keeping one for 2015, best wishes to Julius. While Julius may possess the size of a tight end at 6'5" 250 lbs., he clearly does not play like one. 12 TD's is impressive, but 43 catches for 489 yards in 13 games is not. Julius has only played in 35 of 64 games in his first four years in the NFL.
Demaryius Thomas has been the featured receiver in the Peyton Manning offense. The past three seasons have produced 103, 94 and 92 catches to go with 1504, 1430 and 1434 yards. In 2014, the Broncos added WR Emmanuel Sanders from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sanders caught 101 passes for 1404 yards. The free agent acquisition had a breakout season. His production moved Julius Thomas to a third option for QB Peyton Manning.
In 2015, the Broncos will be more run based in their offense with new head coach, Gary Kubiak. There won't be nearly as many trips in the red zone for Julius to take advantage of. He would be best served in hitting the open market, and not waiting for the big contract or franchise tag from Denver. The Broncos have seen enough of: listed as probable or ankle still not 100 percent?
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.