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Elway: We want to keep Julius Thomas, but he’s no Jimmy Graham

Bobby Wagner, Julius Thomas AP

Broncos tight end Julius Thomas was glad the Saints came to an agreement with tight end Jimmy Graham, perhaps because Thomas thinks having Graham’s deal in place will put him in better position to get a new contract worked out with the Broncos. But Broncos boss John Elway wants to make one thing clear: Thomas won’t be getting a Jimmy Graham type contract.

“Even though Julius had a tremendous year for us, he’s only [played] 23 games. We want Julius to be a Bronco for a long time and we think he has tremendous upside, but he’s not at that level,” Elway told USA Today.

Elway is right: Although Thomas had a breakout year last year, catching 65 passes for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns, he’s a long way from earning a contract like the deal the Saints gave Graham, which will pay $21 million over the next two seasons.

Elway plans to work on contract negotiations with both Thomas and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas during training camp, but he doesn’t want to see those negotiations extend into the regular season.

“Nothing is going to get done before camp, but we’ll keep talking to them in camp,” Elway said. “I’m never going to go into the season, but the first couple of weeks, we can continue to talk about it. After the second week of the preseason, we’ll want to have had something done, one way or another.”

The Broncos may get something done with Thomas, but they won’t overpay him by putting him in the same pay range as Graham.

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100 Responses to “Elway: We want to keep Julius Thomas, but he’s no Jimmy Graham”
  1. tjacks7 says: Jul 16, 2014 7:44 PM

    I’d be a bit weary of any player who’s “breakout” year comes while playing with Peyton.

  2. chad504boy says: Jul 16, 2014 7:44 PM

    What a great way to get negotiations started. You’re pretty pod but still suck comparatively speaking.

  3. chad504boy says: Jul 16, 2014 7:45 PM

    *good

  4. dukeearl says: Jul 16, 2014 7:45 PM

    Not that I disagree with his assessment of Julius Thomas, but he overpaid Jimmy Graham…
    Not my worry though…

  5. Mr. Wright 212 says: Jul 16, 2014 7:45 PM

    Just astounding the lengths teams will go to in order to avoid paying guys what they’re worth. Way to inspire your players, Johnny Boy.

  6. udontknowjaq says: Jul 16, 2014 7:45 PM

    Elway is no Montana…

  7. xxsweepthelegxx says: Jul 16, 2014 7:47 PM

    I hate to say this… But Elway is right.

    Ugh, I need to go wash my mouth out now

  8. kehav1 says: Jul 16, 2014 7:47 PM

    I would agree. but this remark would piss me off and I would not want to play for the team…

  9. 4thquartermagic says: Jul 16, 2014 7:47 PM

    Haha spoken Like. A. Boss.

  10. realnflmaster says: Jul 16, 2014 7:54 PM

    Seahawks got really lucky in that Superbowl. 9/10 times Denver wins in a landslide.

    #AFCDomination #BestConferenceAFC #HomeoftheJETS

  11. mypercyhurts2 says: Jul 16, 2014 7:58 PM

    Why doesn’t Elway just pay Thomas under the table? You know, like Elway was paid in his two Super Bowl winning years. Just don’t get caught again.

  12. mrlaloosh says: Jul 16, 2014 7:58 PM

    Thomas May be better.

  13. giantsninerswarriors says: Jul 16, 2014 7:59 PM

    Elway might be right that Thomas hasn’t proven himself yet; however, for him to publicly state that an employee isn’t “at that level” is probably not the best way to maintain a productive relationship with… well… anyone.

  14. goninjagoninjagogo says: Jul 16, 2014 7:59 PM

    Compliment sandwich?

  15. kwjsb says: Jul 16, 2014 8:03 PM

    Pat Bowlen used to say we want to keep that Elway kid, but he’s no Steve DeBerg

  16. raiderrob21 says: Jul 16, 2014 8:04 PM

    Sometimes the truth hurts. Good call Horseface!

  17. vikesr4reel says: Jul 16, 2014 8:08 PM

    Elway!!
    What a pud
    Going downhill this year!!
    Scol

  18. shakethenbake says: Jul 16, 2014 8:10 PM

    just like a good car sales man…..

  19. FlashPatterson says: Jul 16, 2014 8:11 PM

    The Broncos are going to be better this year. Emmanuel Sanders is an upgrade over Eric Decker (with Peyton of course) and they made some great moves on defense. Peyton will be MVP again this year.

  20. pbeddoe says: Jul 16, 2014 8:12 PM

    …. and meanwhile, Elway is no Dan Fouts…

  21. raiderapologist says: Jul 16, 2014 8:14 PM

    Elway had a different attitude when he was wearing a different suit. He has made a smooth transition.

  22. bostonbadass says: Jul 16, 2014 8:15 PM

    Like Dion Says …….

    ” Just Pay The Man ”

    Or he’ll be blowing by your secondary in the next two years Johnny Boy..

  23. dubblelznhell says: Jul 16, 2014 8:16 PM

    I believe Manning has only produced one season with a TE who got over 1000 yards. And that was Dallas Clark. I wouldn’t bet on Thomas getting over a 1000 yards as long as Manning is throwing to him.

  24. lostsok says: Jul 16, 2014 8:24 PM

    So he’ll have to get by on seven million a year. Man. That is tough.

  25. suhperbowl90 says: Jul 16, 2014 8:26 PM

    Aqib was no Revis or Sherman but you paid him like he was so I don’t see why Thomas shouldn’t be overpaid on the team as well IMHO.

  26. joetoronto says: Jul 16, 2014 8:36 PM

    Just circumvent the salary cap, John.

    That’s how you won those 2 Super Bowls, remember?

  27. hawkforlife says: Jul 16, 2014 8:38 PM

    Seahawks got really lucky in that Superbowl. 9/10 times Denver wins in a landslide.

    Yes, you have the right to post funny stuff but please stop, my sides can’t take any more.

  28. patriotsdefense says: Jul 16, 2014 8:40 PM

    And neither are Gronk

  29. higheriqthanyou says: Jul 16, 2014 8:41 PM

    Just drinking with Elway on Coeur D’Alene lake in Idaho.

    Good guy.

    But let’s face it.

    Jimmy did nothing vs Super Bowl Hawks.

    Pay up Johnny.

  30. gojags says: Jul 16, 2014 8:41 PM

    Translation: We would like to keep Thomas but not with Jimmy Graham money.

  31. tacomatiger says: Jul 16, 2014 8:48 PM

    Thomas is a scrub, league minimum player

  32. 24k24k007 says: Jul 16, 2014 8:49 PM

    You guys are crazy, MONTANA IS NO ELWAY!
    Elway carrer passing yards …51,475 yards 300TD’s….MONTANA 40,551 yards 273 TD’s…..
    ELWAY RUSHING 3.407 33TD’s that’s 333 TD’s….MONTANA A PITIFUL 1,600 Yars 21 TD’s do the math, and poor Elway had the worst team to work with, I’m not even a broncos fan, but I remember how bad their receivers were. MONTANA Had Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark, Rodger Craig who originated the receiving running backs you see today, him Marus Allen And Thurman Thomas, and please don’t forget about John Taylor! Elway did everything himself, he went out there week after week and got the shi*Znizzy Beat out of him and got up for more, he carried the Denver Broncos for a decade and a half.

    See, it’s stupidity like that “ELWAY IS NO MONTANA” That has the youth today worshipping Joe Montana. Yeah I know what your going to say! Joe Montana has Four Super Bowl Wins! He better with a team like that, I remember the 80’s and the forty NINERS were nothing more than todays New York Yankees, they had the best players at every position, and probably half the reason the salary cap is in play today.
    Elway Won back to Back Super Bowls and went to more than Montana, how can you say he’s no Montana, he’s better! But he Broncos don’t have the fan base like the San Fran Cisco forty 49ers, ever notice anyone who does anything in San Fran and New York is worshipped for it? Look at poor Darrell Revis, he was a super star for one reason and one reason alone, he played for the JETS! STEW ON THAT FOR A MINUTE!

  33. deadeye says: Jul 16, 2014 8:51 PM

    Look, Julius is great and we want him to be a Bronco for life. But we need him to play for far less than his market value.

    Signed,
    John Elway

  34. jimmysee says: Jul 16, 2014 8:55 PM

    With friends like Elway who needs enemies!?

    Thanks a lot, John.

  35. cgsuddeath says: Jul 16, 2014 8:57 PM

    I don’t like John Elway and I never have.This kind of commentary confirms my long running belief how much of an egotistical jerk he is.

  36. higheriqthanyou says: Jul 16, 2014 8:58 PM

    Elway is not Montana!

    Super Bowls matter!

  37. 24k24k007 says: Jul 16, 2014 8:59 PM

    You guys should thank the football gods that you have Elway, I would love to see him with Falcons or a crazy team like the Jaguars and really see how he can turn a team around, or even better yet the raiders!

    And Elway is 100% right, he is no Jimmy Graham, who cares if the cry baby doesn’t like what he said, Elway is not there for them, and them alone, he’s there to build that whole organization for years to come.
    The guy is a genius.
    And what the first guy said is 100% Accurate, With manning throwing 5,000 Yards per season, there better be a bunch of people with huge stats on that team! Julious Thomas couldn’t even start the first two years he was with the Broncos, finally he get to start 14 Games and pulls down WHAT 788 yards? Come on man, jimmy Graham is a thousand yard per season receiver/Tight End.
    Let him go to Mew York and p,at pitch and catch with Geno, then see what kind of contract he pulls in!

  38. sumkat says: Jul 16, 2014 9:03 PM

    Broncos are going to be in good shape regardless as long as Manning is there. The day he retires, they are in trouble. But as long as he’s there, they probably win that division by default, and have a chance every year to make a run

  39. workin4theweekend says: Jul 16, 2014 9:04 PM

    I think that goes without saying. I mean Graham had 16TDs and 500 more yards that thomas…on one good foot.

  40. taintedsaints2009 says: Jul 16, 2014 9:12 PM

    Only reason Thomas didn’t have more yards, catches, or touchdowns is because Peyton distributed the passes almost evenly the entire season.

    I do question how tough Thomas is against good defenders. He got blasted by the Seahawks. Sure, most do, but it you want big time money, you have to show you’re capable of matching up against the best defenses.

  41. bengalskuta82 says: Jul 16, 2014 9:14 PM

    Elway: We want to keep Julius Thomas, but he’s no Jimmy Graham

    OUCH!!!An NFL ego just got pinched so bad

  42. jdphx says: Jul 16, 2014 9:18 PM

    Hey Julius…. Oakland could use a TE. Come on over, and you can wipe horseface’s chin in it TWICE every year!!!

  43. thetooloftools says: Jul 16, 2014 9:24 PM

    Gee, I was a decent player until this guy came to town and my stats went through the roof… and now your sexy?
    Sorry Dude.
    Welcome to Payton’s place.

  44. seahawkfanfrom1970s says: Jul 16, 2014 9:25 PM

    Nice way to lure back one of your best offensive players, Horseface.

  45. watermelon1 says: Jul 16, 2014 9:26 PM

    So Elway didn’t actually say “he’s no jimmy graham.”

    And yes, he WILL get a contract like Graham. Maybe not from the Broncos… But he’s too good and the NFL loves offense. Quarterbacks best friend… A huge red zone and 3rd down target.

  46. hansenbrothers says: Jul 16, 2014 9:46 PM

    Ouch

  47. mdd913 says: Jul 16, 2014 9:47 PM

    This is not that bad a statement by Elway. If anything it’s motivation for Thomas to make himself as good as Graham.

  48. dmretrogames says: Jul 16, 2014 9:47 PM

    Better win a Super Bowl soon, because Cap Hell awaits.

  49. gayforbrady says: Jul 16, 2014 9:57 PM

    I am a huge John Elway fan, but he is wrong to treat his player this way.

    Thomas deserves to be paid for his performance.

  50. macneil4025 says: Jul 16, 2014 10:13 PM

    Teddy Bridgewater just looked up from studying his playbook and had a nice laugh, super bowl homeboy! Skol Vikes

  51. calvinthegreat82 says: Jul 16, 2014 10:35 PM

    John Elway has horse teeth and an elephant brain.

  52. norcalseahawkfan says: Jul 16, 2014 10:44 PM

    Uh.. 43 to 10,,
    Super Bowl Champion
    Seattle Seahawks
    Enough Said!

  53. norcalseahawkfan says: Jul 16, 2014 10:50 PM

    Oops,, 43 to 8

  54. scw1993 says: Jul 16, 2014 10:54 PM

    It’s so funny when some donkey fan says “we’re in great shape as long as Peyton is here.” Why?? He can’t win the big one to save his life, what’s the sense of all the personal padded stats awards without the hardware at the end of the season for the whole team. Manning is also hamstringing the organization…they can’t pay everyone. How are they going to pay all these players, cheat the cap again?? There are many ways to manipulate contract monies, but bottom line, megahead gets most of it.

  55. bcajun says: Jul 16, 2014 10:54 PM

    Why dont the 9ers hire Montana or Young to do the same as Elway? JW

  56. brownsmakemecrazy says: Jul 16, 2014 10:54 PM

    And Elway you are no John Schneider either.

  57. pfu2 says: Jul 16, 2014 10:59 PM

    Browns Jordon Cameron is in the same boat, not quite at Grahams level, but wants to get paid like him. Although, I’m sure his girlfriend is quite expensive!

  58. jedyknyt says: Jul 16, 2014 11:02 PM

    Elway is right!!!

    It’s a known fact that GREAT Quarterbacks make BELOW AVERAGE receivers household names, then when the GREAT Quarterback leaves you don’t hear the BELOW AVERAGE receiver’s name called anymore.

  59. lowdownmofo says: Jul 16, 2014 11:04 PM

    We’d like to keep Elway too, but glue is going for a good price these days.

  60. nickinneohio says: Jul 16, 2014 11:06 PM

    Say what you want. After Jimmy Graham is over drafted in my fantasy league, Im taking Thomas.

  61. babygaga19 says: Jul 16, 2014 11:07 PM

    Elway is the best thing to happen to the the Broncos not once, but twice. He has them in power mode.Am I liyng?

  62. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 16, 2014 11:13 PM

    if not for TDavis what would any of us think of John Elway…

    I’m still laughing at him in the SB vs my Redskins…

    LOL when someone tries to argue for him as a top 10 QB

    guy is just a jerk…..

  63. jbeagles23 says: Jul 16, 2014 11:20 PM

    This is true. But both are playing with hof qbs. Wrs and te’s get over paid because of how good their qbs are

  64. Spymaster Belichick says: Jul 16, 2014 11:22 PM

    Watch how Eric Decker performs this year with Geno/Vick and you’ll see Thomas’ real worth. Peyton makes everyone around him extremely better.

  65. Bronco$32&33 says: Jul 16, 2014 11:37 PM

    JT was a great tight end last year but before that he’d barely played maybe 3 games. He’s got no history of consistency so Elway is in fact correct with his assessment. If JT maintains his high level of production over the next two years then he will be in the Grahamn, Gronk, & Gates range. Until then he’s a relatively unproven commodity and is not deserving of a blockbuster contract. And by the way I’m a huge Broncos fan and have been for 26 years. Elway is a very intelligent and shrewd businessman. He’s shelled out the dollars where applicable and can cut the fat when necessary. In a few short years he’s created a team that was 4-12 into the best team in the AFC two years running, the playoffs 3 straight years and a super bowl berth. Sorry but the man knows how to evaluate talent and runs football team.

  66. bobsamkara says: Jul 16, 2014 11:49 PM

    Elway is right. I’ve been intrigued by Thomas since he was drafted. Unfortunately last year (his 3rd season) was his first healthy season. One good year with the best in the game throwing you the ball hardly puts him in the position for that kind of cash. If he puts up similar numbers again this year then maybe he deserves it. I think Elway said what he said because he is smart enough to read between the lines of Thomas’s congratulatory tweet to Graham. He was just simply letting him know that kind of deal isn’t happening this year,

  67. apsmith307 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:04 AM

    He’ll get is big deal when he puts up big numbers and deserves it!

  68. jerjaxon says: Jul 17, 2014 12:05 AM

    Kam Chancellor punked this dude. My favorite SB play…

  69. gduckwall says: Jul 17, 2014 12:07 AM

    I agree with Elway’comments but should be left to the negotiating table with Julias’s agents and not in the press and he might be able to stomach it easier/accept it. The Broncos need to pay D. Thomas now and if J. Thomas will not accept reality for one year’s work he needs to walk and face reality…..

  70. silverandblack052099 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:25 AM

    You know what makes it easy to win back to back Super Bowls?

    Getting away with exceeding the salary cap.

  71. madmikepromo says: Jul 17, 2014 12:37 AM

    True, but Easy John boy.. You’re no Peyton or Montana.

  72. ugadogs21 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:41 AM

    Hmmm, they both folded against Seattle. That’s one thing they have in common.

  73. brokebackbrees says: Jul 17, 2014 1:01 AM

    Thomas is no jimmy Graham. Thomas urine actually tests negative. Jimmy went back to the drugs and the new and improved bounty program. We all know they overpaid him so he didn’t leak bounty details. Elway realizes that as well.

  74. nite2al says: Jul 17, 2014 1:42 AM

    Thomas is a product of the system.

  75. jrob23 says: Jul 17, 2014 2:06 AM

    Easily the most overrated QB in history quickly becoming an awful GM. Can’t wait to see the team this guy has when Peyton moves on.

  76. brandongonzalez118 says: Jul 17, 2014 2:14 AM

    Well, not even Jimmy Graham deserved that much money whatsoever. The man can’t block and he disappears against any physical defense.

    Now Julius Thomas did play well last year, but he should demonstrate a few more years of consistent production before talks of a big contract.

    John Elway is right about Julius Thomas’ contract, but the way he said it is just very stupid. He basically said his player is not as talented as another (Jimmy). Elway is dumb as hell with his words.

  77. angelchavez75 says: Jul 17, 2014 2:46 AM

    Like someone already mentioned. With that “borrowed” qb, i wouldn’t give huge contracts to nobody specially on the offense. Defense also included because with Manning, the Broncas were always ahead limiting the defensive pressure to win a game.

  78. bannedfromchoirpractice says: Jul 17, 2014 3:44 AM

    Straight from the horse’s mouth.

  79. councilofargos says: Jul 17, 2014 4:08 AM

    Yeah Elways is right just like Cosmo and Men’s Health are right about telling me I dont have to be Brad Pitt in the bedroom. Thomas is fairly talented. If he puts together two good years in a row it will mean more. Overall the Graham deal means the Franchise tag for tight ends goes up $500k.

  80. gtskyrider says: Jul 17, 2014 5:07 AM

    How much are the Broncos under the salary cap???

  81. belicheathater says: Jul 17, 2014 5:14 AM

    I want him. I’ll cheat to get him.

  82. thelastwordyaheard says: Jul 17, 2014 7:00 AM

    it’s the Elway or the highway pal!

  83. jchipwood says: Jul 17, 2014 7:46 AM

    Elway needs to thank his lucky stars everyday for Terrel Davis. I dont think his 111 yards passing and 1 pic 0 tds would had won them his first super bowl.

  84. touchdownroddywhite says: Jul 17, 2014 8:31 AM

    For those citing Peyton being an inflation factor for his stats, consider that the same thing applies for Jimmy Graham with Drew Brees. Then consider that New Orleans didn’t have nearly as many solid options outside of Graham. Who do they have that’s anywhere near as talented and big as Demaryius Thomas? Who do they have that’s anywhere near as talented as Welker?

    Get real. J. Thomas is a stud and while he doesn’t have the numbers to ask for more than Graham, he’s got the talent to expect to be in the ball park.

  85. blogatron2000 says: Jul 17, 2014 8:59 AM

    Elway knows that any TE/WR that can hold onto the ball is going to look good and generate stats playing with Manning. He’s basically telling Thomas and his agent as much in order to set the tone for negotiations.

    Quite reminiscent of the way Carl Peterson used to work with the Chiefs. Open the talks by firing a warning shot across the bow…

  86. ebbycalvinlaloosh says: Jul 17, 2014 9:43 AM

    What with the Elway/Montana comments? Which team does Montana run? The comparison is irrelevant in this context.

  87. jjackwagon says: Jul 17, 2014 10:03 AM

    For those citing Peyton being an inflation factor for his stats…exhibit A: Eric Decker

    A virtual nobody until Manning showed up.

  88. denverwally says: Jul 17, 2014 10:30 AM

    Neither Thomas or Jimmy Graham can hold Gronk’s jock. Sorry boys but you are arguing over second place.

  89. guitarfreak21 says: Jul 17, 2014 10:34 AM

    He’s right about Graham being better, but why would you say that? Players have fits about less…

  90. Fantasy Football Consultant says: Jul 17, 2014 10:41 AM

    Super Bowls are a team accomplishment . Not individual. Super Bowls shouldn’t matter. Give Elway to B Walsh and those 80’s team and you’d swear Elway was the greatest, or Favre, or Marino, or on and on.

  91. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 17, 2014 11:28 AM

    Elway is a snot nosed punk used car salesman..

    tremendously overrated player

  92. Ed Bandell says: Jul 17, 2014 11:53 AM

    I want to keep Elway, but he’s no Steve Grogan.

  93. omeimontis says: Jul 17, 2014 12:07 PM

    The Broncos went for broke during free agency, so they have little cap space left for Julius. Their number one priority is Demaryius.

  94. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 17, 2014 12:07 PM

    Elway is not smart either

    Wonderlic of 29… well below most NFL QBs

  95. politicallyincorrect says: Jul 17, 2014 12:09 PM

    ck out DMcNabb and KStewart

  96. 24k24k007 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:36 PM

    The broncos won’t be in trouble without Manning, Osweiler is the future for the Broncos. Brock Osweiler is Smart Accurate and runs Like a fullback, and is Mannings protege! If Manning retired right now I am confident Osweiler can take over Mannings Job immediatley, it might take him a year or two to get his groove but he is going to be an amazing QB, and he’s the classic Prototypical QB, 6’6″ or 6’7″ with quick feet and an accurate Cannon for an arm.
    You guys stole Osweiler, and when it comes time he’s going to surprise a lot of people.

  97. tangovader says: Jul 17, 2014 1:55 PM

    If he puts up another year like last year, he won’t have to worry about what Elway thinks. He’ll get paid—by either the Broncos or someone looking for the next Jimmy Graham.

  98. brockdrego says: Jul 17, 2014 2:19 PM

    Will Elway still be a genius when he no longer has the services of an aging Hall of Famer that was exposed for his limitations in last year’s big one?

  99. madddogg365 says: Jul 17, 2014 5:39 PM

    Can’t believe I’m saying this but…Go Elway.

  100. sp6685 says: Jul 18, 2014 2:53 AM

    What he meant to say, was that Peyton makes him look far better than he actually is.

    Just like Peyton creates the illusion of Fox actually being a competent coach.

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