Broncos could soon have to choose between Decker, Thomas


Eli Manning’s team currently is faced with one star receiver not under contract and another star receiver whose rookie contract will expire after the 2013 season.

His brother’s team will soon be facing a similar problem.

Thanks to the stats boost that came from swapping Tim Tebow for Peyton Manning, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas both had more than 1,000 yards receiving and double-digit touchdowns in 2012.  Decker’s four-year rookie contract expires after the 2013 season, and Thomas’s five-year first-round deal from that same draft expires after 2014.

The problem for the Broncos is that signing both guys to long-term, big-money deals could result in both of them to a certain extent being wasted after Manning retires.  Even if he plays three more years, the Broncos would get two years under Decker’s new deal and one under Thomas’s.

If Decker goes first, Thomas would likely try to surpass him in total value and guaranteed money.  The best strategy for keeping both, then, could be getting Decker signed to a reasonable long-term deal before he qualified for free agency, and then using the franchise tag on Thomas if necessary to keep him around for 2015, which could be Manning’s final season.

That approach means Decker would get paid at least two years before Thomas, which could make Thomas antsy about getting his own new contract.

For now, it appears that the Broncos are content to ride it out.  But if they can finish out the postseason with a Super Bowl win, they may have to use the franchise tag to keep Decker around for 2014, since he’d be a hot commodity on the open market.

At that point, the smart move for the Broncos could be to let Decker walk.  He then could be replaced by a lower-priced veteran who would relish the opportunity to catch plenty of passes and perhaps win a ring with Peyton Manning.

Which leads us back to the title of this specific blurb.  Soon, the Broncos may have to choose between the two receivers who were drafted three years ago by Josh McDaniels.

27 responses to “Broncos could soon have to choose between Decker, Thomas

  1. Hopefully we can keep them both but if it comes down to keeping one then Decker has got to go. You can find another possession receiver but Thomas is more explosive and has more big play potential due to his speed.

  2. I’d keep Thomas for his ability to stretch the field and quickness in the open field.

    But Decker is nasty too. Not only can he stretch the field, but he’s more physical and a better blocker in the run game. He reminds me so much of Ed McCaffrey.

    I doubt they can keep both. It will be hard with Von Miller getting a huge pay increase soon as well.

  3. Decker and Welker are the same type of receiver. They can afford to let Decker go, no harm done. Thomas is more of a playmaker

  4. I’d say this falls into the category of a good problem to have. Broncos could use a break after the fax fiasco. From a outsider looking in even though Thomas was taken higher it seems Decker has more heart. For a long productive run I’d place my bets on Decker.

  5. Lets not get ahead of ourselves. We need to do the wait and see as anything can happen in a stretch of one to two years in the no fun league.

  6. Or they can wait till Welker cannibalizes Decker’s stats and pay him less. Everyone wins. Except for Decker. Sucks for him.

  7. The way I see it is that it is a good problem to have. I bet Sam Bradford would be happy with either. DT will be top five this year and Manning has got to be stoked. Good luck to the DBs that have to cover Decker, Welker, and Thomas this year. Just to let you know Raider’s fans, Tracy Porter is not going to get it done.

  8. Everyone talks about Manning like has has more than 1 ring! Dude is this generation’s biggest choke artist. But he’s nice so we’ll never call him a choker.

  9. I just realized that the broncos may have the best group of wideouts in the league….

    I wouldn’t anticipate another 2x 1k wr year though. I think mannings stats will fall this year, and Welker will take catches from both guys.

    Thomas is obviously the best of the bunch. Ideally, they could keep both, but I see them keeping deckert. He will cost way less, when, As someone already pointed out, Welker vultures his targets.

    Plus, by the time Thomas’s contract is up, owners will be in full collusion to keep prices down on big-time skill position guys.

    Mike Wallace may have pulled down the last of the big money contracts for WRs.

    Teams are starting to see that the qb has more to do with a complete pass than a wr could ever hope to. The proliferation of the spread attack and rotating receivers means this position could eventually become as devalued as hb is right now.

  10. All things revolve around Manning. These two receivers would be irrelevant and Welker would have probably gone to the Rams. Broncos are in it to win it now, so there is NO looking beyond Peyton. When he retires you simply blow things up, back to where the Broncos were before him.

    If you look at the last time Manning had 3 good receivers and a tight end, you go back to 2004. Stokely had around 75 catches, Harrison around 85, Wayne around 77 catches. Clark had around 25 catches.

    If you take those numbers with today’s pass happy systems its probably safe to assume Welker will atleast exceed 75 catches into the 80 catch range, Thomas around 90 and Decker probably around 70 catches. Tamme and Dreisen’s productivity will more then likely drop.

    But if you don’t have Manning secured, I wouldn’t sign neither to long term. If he retires then signing either receiver to anykind of money beyond what they are worth before he came is out of the question.

  11. @jasonculhane, you have a decent point expect the retirement of manning won’t implode the team. All hopes are on osweiler to learn and take control post manning, both black and decker would make thing much easy on his transition. I assure you that denver won’t bring in another tebow like QB, if osweiler is not the answer they’ll find the right one. If you know how to draft, it won’t take years to rebuild a championship caliber team. I bet you denver is still ahead of the west after manning

  12. Manning’s stats will fall this year; THAT IS FUNNY! Get us a good back and Manning will smile like I do when in Home Depot.

  13. Many Broncos fans neglect one key issue to this situation. Von miller is an unrestricted free agent the same year as is Thomas. As Thomas will be asking for a contact paralleled to Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitz, probably closer to Fitz given his lack of production in the past couple years, I would highly doubt the Broncos will be willing to pay such a fee for a wide receiver. Given the fact I believe Von Miller will be the highest paid defensive player in NFL history when he signs his contract, they will probably choose to resign Decker who will come at a better value. Decker also fits the Manning scheme very well proven by his higher touchdown ratio in comparison to Thomas. The ideal situation is resign Decker following 2013 and then give Von his max contract following 2014 while Thomas is franchised for the 2015 season.

  14. Would you look at that, everyone is comparing Decker to another white receiver… I would classify Decker as a guy like Jimmy Smith from Jax. Tall and lanky with good hands. He made some serious acrobatic catches for the Gophers.

  15. @Broncosnative

    I thought I made good points, received 5 thumbs down though, lol.

    I was just trying to point out signing them later or worrying about it really doesn’t matter because Elway’s in win now mode. Decker and Thomas are good, but they got a long ways to go to be bonefide great receivers, hence big contracts and all that noise with it. Its premature.

  16. @opaug

    No, I gotta disagree with the comparison. I’ve watched Jimmy play and in his prime was the best receiver in the AFC for 2 or 3 years, during that time I would say he was better then Marvin Harrison, Jimmy compares to Marvin. Decker compares to Ed McCaffery or Brian Hartline. He’s gotta work on his hands, but his williness to learn could propel him if he keeps progressing.

  17. @opaug.

    From 1999 to 2002 Jimmy Smith had 116 catches, 91,112…then an 80 catch season after that in a Tom Coughlin offense. If Decker can acheive those results in a more pass happy system then great for him, I hope he does. But at this time, no.

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