The Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys beat the deadline yesterday, the deadline for signing franchise players to long-term deals. Both teams have to feel great about the terms in to which the deals were agreed to. They both kept their top pass catchers for what appears to be a bargain price, especially after the salary cap rises next season. For a quick example of how these deals will compare, look at what’s happened thus far in the NBA Free Agency period this offseason. There are now decent players making the same money under the new cap that max players received under the old cap. A perfect example is Steph Curry and John Wall making less and than equal the monies of Brandon Knight and Reggie Jackson. Bryant and Thomas both signed five-year $70 million dollar deals, the difference being in the guaranteed money.
While it’s clear that both Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas deserve more than their new five-year deals are giving them, can’t help to think about the albatross deals that Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson received a few years ago. Obviously both players deserved that type of money, but with the type of salary cap in place those deals crippled both teams ability to fill out their roster to a degree. With the cap going up, it’s easily conceivable that both players could have received more money in their new deals. Kansas City definitely took advantage of that when they resigned pass rusher Justin Houston.
Think about the type of bargain that the Broncos and Cowboys really got with these new deals. Dallas doesn’t know just how long Romo will continue to play at a high level, so locking in Dez was high priority. So whoever will become Romo’s successor will be getting one of the league’s best receivers in their prime. Bryant stated various times through social media and interviews that it was more about security than money. So it appears that he got what he wanted in the five year deal, Dez will receive $45 million in guaranteed money. In his short time in Dallas, Bryant reached 50 career touchdowns in just 70 games. To expound on that, he trails only Randy Moss (60) and Jerry Rice (66) in touchdown catches in the first five seasons in the league with 56.
The situation with Demaryius is far more interesting, a large part being his career before and after he started playing with Peyton Manning. While it’s clear that Manning is one of the greatest signal callers of all time, it seemed as if many pundits, analysts, and fans were saying his value wasn’t as high because of Manning. Again, it’s clear that Peyton deserves some credit for what Thomas had done.
That shouldn’t take away from what the 27-year-old pass catcher has done in the last few seasons. In the last three seasons Demaryius has had at least 90 catches, 1400 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Again, that’s at least. His ability to take a bubble screen for the distance at his size (6’3, 225) is ridiculous, couple that with his speed to get downfield and it’s easy to see why he felt that he was in that “elite” group of pass catchers in the league. Similar to Bryant’s situation, he’s playing with an elder signal caller (one that the Broncos allegedly tried to trade this offseason) and that player may not be around to see Thomas finish his deal. While those numbers with Manning are extremely impressive, imagine what Thomas could do with a signal caller with a strong arm to go downfield. Like Bryant, this deal was definitely a steal as Thomas received $43.5 million guaranteed.
What did you think of the deals for both the teams and players involved?