According to Renck, Thomas is looking to secure a similar contract to Calvin Johnson‘s record setting deal that included $48 million guaranteed and an average base salary of $16 million. However, Renck concedes that this negotiation will come down to guaranteed money in the end.
As Renck notes, the franchise tag for the next two seasons — 2016 and 2017 — would come out to around $40 million. With this in mind, Renck can’t see Thomas signing for much less than this figure. The problem, according to Renck, is that he can’t see the Broncos offering Thomas this much guaranteed.
There are other factors that impact negotiations between the two parties such as the fact that Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, and Julio Jones are all in position to set the market for the next generation of receivers.
Should any of them get more than $40 million guaranteed in their next deals, it would increase the pressure on the Broncos to improve their offer.
Renck mentions that there really isn’t any real motivation for contract talks to move quickly, even though were less than two weeks away from the deadline to negotiate with franchised players.
There’s still a chance that Thomas could push the issue and holdout of training camp.
Thomas, 27, stands to make a base salary of $12.82 million guaranteed for the 2015 season under the franchise tag.
In 2014, Thomas caught 111 passes for 1,619 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns over the course of 16 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 5 receiver in the league out of 110 qualifying players.