There has been no reported progress between the two parties towards an agreement in recent weeks, and Thomas’ agent, Frank Bauer, makes it seem like his client is certain to reach the open market.
“The Broncos came to me, we tried to get it done, it didn’t work,” Bauer, said on Friday.
According to Klis, there are no meetings schedule for the Broncos and Thomas’ representatives. Although that could always change.
Denver reportedly offered Thomas a five-year, $40 million contract that would have paid him an annual salary of $8 million, and left him as the No. 3 highest paid tight end in the league behind Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
Those numbers look and sound impressive, but Bauer brings up a good point, which is that the structure and guaranteed money of the deal are really what matters. From the sound of it, the guarantees weren’t all that impressive.
“The main thing was the structure,” Bauer said. “In any contract in the National Football League, it all has to do with how the guarantees are written. Are there full skill/injury/cap guarantees? Or are they conditional? There are clubs that do it the old way. And they’re getting their players done and keeping their own.
“In this case, the guarantees were too low. The guarantees were conditional.”
Bauer added that Thomas is an “elite” tight end who’s still young, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him approach free agency targeting a similar deal to Jimmy Graham, and seeing where things go from there.
Thomas, 26, may have had a disappointing end to the season, but he still caught 43 passes for 489 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns over the course of 13 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 13 tight end in the league out of 67 qualifying players.
We have Thomas listed as the No. 9 player in our Top 100 Free Agents list.