When I read the quote within this title in Troy Renck’s mailbag over the weekend, I really didn’t think much of it one way or the other. But now that bigger outlets like PFT are picking up on Renck’s line, I felt that an explanation is needed as to why it needs to be understood with more context.
Here’s the simple reason why I had little to no reaction to that quote: if Thomas’s agent didn’t open negotiations asking for Calvin Johnson money, then he’s not doing his job. Like any other negotiation, you want to start off your talks as far in your favor as possible, so that when you compromise it’s closer in your favor. Conversely, the Broncos’ negotiators would also be failing if they don’t start their side at Thomas’s franchise tag value.
I said just as much in my own take on the Thomas negotiations. If Thomas starts off in the $17M APY/$50M guaranteed range, and the Broncos start with about $13M APY/$28M guaranteed range, then an ultimate deal will very likely fall in the middle of those ranges. And because that range is quite broad due to the Megatron anomaly, there’s a lot of room to tinker with those numbers. For example, if Thomas does want guarantees in the upwards of $40M, the Broncos may demand in return that his APY is lower in the established range–say, not much higher than $14M.
It’s unclear where Renck sources this claim, but if I had to guess it likely came from Thomas’s camp, trying to demonstrate that they are serious in resetting the wide receiver market. I don’t think this is any news to the Broncos, and I don’t expect them to be fazed by any public chatter that comes from this.
Thus, in my mind nothing much has changed. If Thomas does sign a long term deal, he’s probably not going to equal or best Johnson’s contract, but he’ll come close to it.