Two of the most dynamic wide receivers in the NFL are staying with their current franchises for the next five seasons.
Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant have signed five-year contracts valued at $70 million (each) with their respective clubs. Bryant’s deal guarantees him $45 million and a $20 million signing bonus, while Thomas’s is getting $43.5 million. Both wide outs agreed to their respective deals around the deadline for players and teams to agree to long-term deals, Thomas actually signed his deal right at the deadline.
Dallas will be paying Bryant $3 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016, and $13 million in ’17.
The details of Thomas’ deal with the Broncos aren’t public knowledge yet. But it is known that he hadn’t signed the $12.823 million franchise tag Denver had applied to him.
Thomas took a couple of years to get going, but he’s been an absolute stud since Peyton Manning showed up in Denver. In 2014 he averaged 6.9 catchers per game, 14.6 yards per catch while hauling in 11 touchdowns. While he has good hands, his best asset is his speed. Watch Thomas blow past the Cardinals’ secondary in the embedded video (20 second mark).
Thomas is one of the wide receivers in the AFC, and it’s going to be interesting to see how he continues to develop throughout the upcoming season; especially if Manning continues to decline throughout the 2015 season.
Bryant became the subject of several internet memes because of his reaction to the non catch with less than five minutes to go in Dallas trailing Green Bay by six in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. What’s been lost in the aftermath of that play is the insane athleticism needed for him to get up to that ball and pull it in…let alone keep it within one of his hands as he fell to the ground.
His numbers are just as impressive as his athletic skill. Bryant pulled in an average 5.5 catches per game, 15 yards per catch, and 16 touchdowns during the 2014 season. Those numbers put him in the NFL’s upper echelon of receivers, and arguably make him the best in the league — Calvin Johnson is really his only competition.
Neither of these contracts are going to be crippling to the Broncos or Cowboys’ ability to sign anyone else for the upcoming season. But these contracts are going to be more costly down the road, when both rosters are aging and struggling to stay around .500.