Julius Thomas: Broncos will use me more creatively this year

AP

Broncos tight end Julius Thomas is one of several players keeping an eye on how things play out with Jimmy Graham’s franchise tag grievance because his future contract negotiations will likely be impacted by whatever the arbitrator rules in regard to Graham being viewed as a tight end or a wide receiver.

Thomas is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, so he will be in line for a big raise regardless of Graham’s ultimate situation. Unless he reaches a deal with the Broncos before the start of the season, the question of how big a deal will be determined in part by his production in 2014. According to Thomas, an additional year of experience will lead to bigger and different things.

“What I think people will see different in me [this year] is that they will use me a lot more creatively,” Thomas said, via FOXSports.com. “I think there are a lot of things that our offense wanted to do with me, but you can only learn so much in one year. No matter how much time you have at practice, it never seems to be enough when you’re learning and trying to come into your own.”

Thomas played just one year of college football and injuries kept him off the field for most of his first two seasons, so he really hasn’t had that much time to polish his skills on the football field. The absence of Eric Decker should offer Thomas more opportunities than he had on his way to 65 catches and 12 touchdowns last season. Taking advantage of them would likely impact the look of his next contract as much or more than any arbitrator’s ruling.