John Elway on Demaryius Thomas: ‘Very fair deal for both sides’

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos signed wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to a five-year, $70 million contract that includes $43.5 million guaranteed.

Thomas will make $22 million in 2015.

“We look at what the value is to the Broncos, what we can afford, how that fits into the structure and how that fits into our football team,” Broncos general manager John Elway said of the salary cap. “All of those things are going into consideration when we determine what we’re going to pay somebody. We’re well aware of the people that we have coming up. We have a lot of good football players coming up. But with Demaryius—he’s obviously a big part of that and he’s the first part of trying to keep this football team together. I think it was a very fair deal for both sides.”

With Peyton Manning at quarterback, Thomas has had three consecutive seasons with at least 92 receptions, 1,430 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns.

“I think you look at the production that D.T. has had in the last three years. I don’t think there’s any question that D.T. is one of the top wide receivers in the league and he’s being compensated that way now,” said Elway. “It’s very well deserved on D.T.’s part. We have high expectations. We think he’s coming right into his prime and we don’t anticipate him backing up at all. The expectations are going to be increased now and we just think that he has all the skills. Plus with the type of person he is, he’s the type of player and guy that we want on the Denver Broncos. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in D.T. and it’s why we’re comfortable paying this kind of money.”

Elway expects the 27-year-old to continue to be a “big-play guy and a No. 1 receiver.”

“I think that he has continued to get better. He’s a hard worker, studies and he’s smart. He is a student of the game. I think that he got bit by the injury bug early in his career and he has been able to fight through that to have three solid years when he’s been healthy. That’s a maturation process. That’s what we have seen the past three years from Demaryius and what we’ll see for the next five as a big-play guy and a No. 1 receiver.”

With Thomas signed, the Broncos can designate their franchise tag on linebacker Von Miller, who is set to become a free agent after this season.

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