The Broncos don’t have a great quarterback, but they have a couple of expensive receivers. One of them may be gone in 2018.
Demaryius Thomas, who signed a five-year deal as a franchise-tagged player in 2015, has a base salary of $8.5 million and a cap charge in excess of $12 million. Emmanuel Sanders has a salary of $8.25 million and a cap charge of nearly $11 million. Without someone to throw the passes, it arguably doesn’t make sense to invest that much money in the receiver position.
So who goes? Injuries limited Sanders to 12 games in 2017, when he had only 555 receiving yards. Thomas started all 16, and he finished with 949.
The prior year, when the Broncos were transitioning from Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, both had over 1,000 receiving yards. Both are 30; Sanders turns 31 in March, and Thomas has his next birthday in December.
Thomas has been a Broncos for his entire career, arriving visa the first round of the draft only one year before G.M. John Elway returned to the team. Moving Sanders would result in less of a cap charge, resulting on more of a cap savings.
However it plays out, Elway’s evaluation of Thomas and Sanders will go a long way toward determine who stays and who goes.