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Thomas Comments on Contract Negotiations
Thursday, June 11
"Thomas has also said if no long-term deal could be worked out, he would eventually sign his franchise tender and play the 2015 season 'to help us win the Super Bowl,'" Legwold continued.
On June 9, Mike Klis of 9News reported Thomas wouldn't attend mandatory minicamp, and noted the holdout could extend into training camp.
However, on June 9, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said he was "confident" a deal would get done before that point, according to Legwold.
Lindsay Jones of USA Today reported Kubiak had been in regular contact with Thomas during his holdout.
Thomas, who had a career-high 111 receptions this past season, is slated to make $12.823 million in 2015 through the franchise tag, per Spotrac.com, but he hasn't signed the tender yet. The 27-year-old playmaker is therefore not under contract.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post highlighted the implications of Thomas' strategy not to put pen to paper:
So it appears as though Thomas has the leverage in this situation. If aging legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, 39, is going to be in the best possible position for success this season, he'll need his No. 1 weapon in Thomas to buy in.
Other than Emmanuel Sanders, there aren't many other proven commodities in Denver's receiving corps. Manning is good enough to elevate the play of those around him, but Thomas commands attention from opposing secondaries with his unique blend of size (6'3", 229 lbs) and breakaway speed.
Based on what Kubiak said, the relationship between the Broncos and Thomas doesn't appear to be damaged. The longer Thomas goes unsigned, though, the more Denver has to worry about the situation.
No matter what happens with Manning under center this year, Thomas is a franchise cornerstone the Broncos can't afford to lose. He's such an asset for whoever emerges as Manning's successor, so there's a tremendous amount at stake in this Thomas contract dilemma.