With Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and TE Julius Thomas set to be unrestricted free agents after the season, Jason Cole of the Bleacher Report mentions that WR Wes Welker is likely to be the “odd man out” in Denver next year.
Sources tell Cole that the Denver will likely have to dish out a lot of money to lock up Demaryius to a long-term contract On top of that, the Broncos could be forced to apply their franchise to Julius Thomas in order to prevent him from fielding market-value offers on the open market.
Denver won’t be able to pay everyone, which is why Cole believes Welker is “probably gone” after this season. Cole suggests that Welker may have to settle for a deal that would pay him $2-3 million per year “at most.”
Even if this ends up being an accurate projection for Welker’s salary, it’s doubtful that the Broncos would even be willing to offer him this salary given that they will have so much money tied up into their receiving options.
The Broncos signed WR Emmanuel Sanders to a three-year, $15 million contract that included $6 million guaranteed back in March. This deal already looks like a steal for Denver, but they also used a second-round pick on Cody Latimer, who is likely to see more work in the coming years.
Welker, 33, is finishing out the final year of his two-year, $12 million contract and will also be an unrestricted free agent next March.
There are obviously some concerns regarding his health and production about moving forward. Welker has sustained numerous concussions over the course of his career and he took a hard hit to the back during Sunday’s game, although it doesn’t appear to be anything serious.
This season, Welker has caught 22 passes for 212 yards receiving and one touchdown over the course of six games.
We have both Julius and Demaryius Thomas featured in our Top 25 – 2015 Free Agents list.