January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (80) runs the ball against the New England Patriots in the XXXX half of the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos' John Elway: Julius Thomas not at an elite level

Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense re-wrote the record books during the 2013 season. On the year, Manning completed 450-of-659 passes for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns.

One of the biggest reasons Manning had his best season was the emergence of tight end Julius Thomas. Thomas became a legitimate threat and joined a group that already included wide receivers DeMaryius Thomas and Eric Decker (who since signed with the New York Jets) and added Wes Welker in the 2013 offseason.

John Elway has attempted to reward Thomas for his play by offering him a contract extension. Elway has not received a response from Thomas’ camp since making an offer and does not want to pay Thomas like an elite tight end until he consistently proves he is one, reports Lindsay H. Jones of The USA Today.

Elway said the Broncos have not received a response from Thomas’ representatives following the Broncos’ offer, believing that Thomas’ camp wanted to see how New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham’s grievance against the NFL and subsequent contract negotiations played out.

An NFL arbitrator ruled that Graham should be considered a tight end for franchise tag purposes, and on Tuesday, he agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal, including a $13 million guaranteed in 2014. Graham has had at least 85 catches each of the last three seasons, and he led all players in touchdown catches last year, with 16.

“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 said.

Elway won’t negotiate beyond training camp.

Thomas made 65 catches for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns in the regular season and another 18 receptions for 188 yards in the postseason.

Tags: Denver Broncos John Elway Julius Thomas

comments powered by Disqus