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Broncos, Demaryius Thomas reportedly at impasse

The Denver Broncos don’t appear to have any further interest in getting a long-term deal done with their superstar wide receiver. With the July 15 deadline looming at 4 p.m. EST for a contract to be signed between general manager John Elway and Thomas, who is on the franchise tag, the two sides are far apart in negotiations, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

In fact, Schefter reports that the two sides have not traded offers in more than a month, something that surely stuns much of Bronco Nation. Thomas has been one of the most prolific receivers in the league since Peyton Manning’s arrival in 2012, posting three consecutive campaigns of over 1,400 receiving yards and at least 10 touchdowns. Now, Thomas faces a couple of possibilities if the miracle of a long-term deal doesn’t take place.

Thomas can sign the franchise tender and play in 2015 for $12.8 million, which is fully guaranteed. After the season, Thomas can negotiate with the Broncos on a long-term deal if he would like. If not, Thomas would hit free agency unless the Broncos tag him again at 120 percent of the salary he is making this year. Thomas would approximately be guaranteed $15 million.

The other option for Thomas is to sit out through training camp and perhaps even the first 10 games of the regular season. As long as Thomas comes back for the last six, the year counts towards his free agency and continues the ball moving forward. It has been speculated that Thomas would sit out training camp, but there has been no talk of him missing actual time. Considering he would be leaving $750,000 on the table for every game missed, it stands to reason that he will report in early September at the latest. Per the ESPN story:

“As a player, you want to get a deal, but if it doesn’t happen you just got to deal with it,” Thomas said. “You just go out and play. I’m still going to play, still going to put my best game up, not going to do anything to hurt the team. I’m going to go out and put my best game up and have another great year.”

Whether Denver will eventually sign Thomas or allow him to walk is anyone’s guess. If Manning retires of is released after this season, it is feasible that Thomas would not be worth keeping around for $15 million when Brock Osweiler is going to be the quarterback. Still, smart money suggests that the Broncos will get a deal done at some point. They will have ample room against the salary cap next offseason after they create space with Manning, DeMarcus Ware and Ryan Clady likely coming off the books.

Still, Thomas’ situation is a sticky one heading into a training camp where Denver is trying to acclimate to a new offensive scheme. It is certainly not the outcome it wanted.

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