"Our goal," Thomas says, "is still the same no matter what—win a Super Bowl."
This isn't a surprising turn of phrase in the offseason. 'Tis the season for unbridled optimism, and it's not exactly like any team with quarterback Peyton Manning at the helm doesn't have a chance at a few playoff runs at the least.
Thomas spoke with Bleacher Report after appearing in the the Call of Duty Celebrity Pro-Am, helping to raise $100,000 for the Call of Duty Endowment, which helps military veterans find jobs. Thomas won the pro-am and is both a longtime fan of the game as well as saying that he has "so much respect for military veterans. It wasn’t just for fun. It was for guys that deserve more but don’t really get more."
That Super Bowl decree wasn't all he said about the future. Thomas went even further, saying that Manning deserves one more championship and that the Broncos need to help give him one.
That's why the Broncos brought Thomas back this season.
In 2014, Thomas led the Broncos in targets (184), receptions (111), yards (1619), 20-yard-plus receptions (25) and was second in receiving touchdowns (11). According to football-analysis site Pro Football Focus, Thomas was the fifth-best receiver in the league last season.
|Demaryius Thomas With Manning at Quarterback|
To reward him for his production and to make sure he's around for more, the Broncos gave Thomas a $12.823 million tender, but he says that his sole goal this offseason is to get a long-term deal done. In fact, in a season of upheaval, Thomas said that's all he can really control.
ESPN's Jeff Legwold recently looked at the kind of deal Thomas is looking for:
Calvin Johnson has the largest contract for any wide receiver in the league, a seven-year, $113 million deal he signed in 2012 that includes $48.8 million in guaranteed money. Andre Johnson, released by the Houston Texans this month, signed a seven-year, $67.8 million deal in 2010. Percy Harvin signed a six-year, $64.2 million deal ($14.5 million guaranteed) in 2013, and Mike Wallace signed a five-year, $60 million deal ($30 million guaranteed) in 2013.
That is the template the Broncos and Thomas' representatives are working from.
Head coach John Fox went from being one of the most respected coaches in the NFL to being cast out and eventually hired to lead the Chicago Bears. Thomas' receiving corps partner, tight end Julius Thomas, headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and once-prized free-agent acquisition Wes Welker is out on the street.
Those are just some of the moves that may lower expectations around the league for the Broncos, but Thomas isn't just focused on his new long-term deal. He's also focused on helping this team get back on the right track in 2015.
"I was shocked that John Fox was gone," Thomas said, "But it’s a business. (Gary) Kubiak is a well-respected coach. Main focus now is getting this new offense down and getting on the same page as Peyton."
Kubiak is a run-first coach, and Thomas knows that. But he says it's a bit of a comfort zone for him after being in a run-first scheme both at Georgia Tech and when he was drafted to a Broncos team that used Tim Tebow at quarterback.
About Julius Thomas leaving, Demaryius said that he's the best young tight end in the league, and though the team hasn't yet met about the offensive scheme and play-calling, Thomas jokes he "won't mind picking up all those targets."
All of this means that Thomas doesn't believe the lack of hype around the Broncos. He's still in town to help this team (and his quarterback) win a Super Bowl. With Thomas in the fold, the Broncos have the firepower to do it.
Before anything else, though, that deal needs to get done. Thomas made that clear: "I want to be a Bronco for the rest of my life."
All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.