Broncos TE Julius Thomas confirmed that he is paying attention to the grievance filed by Saints TE Jimmy Graham which argues that he should be considered a receiver based on where he lined up in recent years.
“I’ve kind of been keeping … an eye on that situation, obviously, because it could probably come back to affect a lot of us tight ends,” said Thomas, via Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press. “But the way I feel about it is, ‘Does two letters next to your name on the depth chart really determine your value to a team?‘”
The fact that Thomas is keeping tabs on the situation should come as no surprise given that Graham stands to make an additional $5 million or so if he comes out on top in the ruling. That would dramatically change the market for tight ends moving forward.
“Does it matter if he’s a tight end, or if he calls himself a slot receiver or a running back?” Thomas said. “I mean, if you’re going to have double-digit touchdowns and contribute a bunch of yards in the receiving game, I just say that you’re a guy that makes great plays and are a value to your team. So I don’t know why the argument necessarily comes down to either you’re a tight end or a receiver. I think that if you’re a guy that makes plays, that’s how you should be valued.”
Thomas makes a great point here that getting caught in how a player should be classified distracts from their real value to their respective team.
Broncos GM John Elway told reporters a few weeks ago that they are discussing extensions for Julius and Demaryius Thomas, but it would make plenty of sense for Julius to wait and see what happens with Graham.
Thomas, 25, is coming off of an incredible season and would clearly be a highly coveted player on the open market next year. In 2013, he totaled 65 receptions for 788 yards receiving and a staggering 12 touchdowns.