Most people assume that Julius Thomas will not be playing for the Broncos in 2015 but the reality is that it’s more than an assumption, it’s a certainty. Julius Thomas will aggressively enter the free agent market looking for just under 10 million dollars per season, with as much of it front-loaded as he can possibly find.
You see, for Julius Thomas this is a business opportunity and that’s it. Period. He is described by those around him as a guy who doesn’t love football and is threatened by the long term physical ramifications of the sport. According to one source close to the situation, “Julius Thomas plays football because he can but not because he has to. He has no long term aspirations for it and is not looking to make a lengthy career out of it.”
According to my source Julius Thomas was offered a contract that would pay him eight million dollars per year and he turned it down. This was at the beginning of the season before Thomas sat out for minor injuries and had his toughness questioned by an entire city. Things have drastically changed since then.
If you were wondering, eight million dollars per year would pay him only one million less than Rob Gronkowski’s average salary and two million less than Jimmy Graham’s.
“Julius is here to get his money and get out,” one teammate told me last week. “That’s just how some guys are. He didn’t grow up playing this game and it’s just not in his DNA to put it all out there.” When asked if Julius Thomas was soft like some say, he said, " where there's smoke, there's fire." According to the teammate, Julius Thomas was healthy enough to play multiple times last season but refused to. In one instance Julius Thomas was heard saying, “I’m about 90% - I’m getting close.”
To most NFL players, 90% is as good as new. Most can’t fathom the idea of sitting out at 90%. We would eventually find out that Peyton Manning, at 38 years old, played with a torn quad. To think that Julius Thomas put himself before the team, angered some players. “You have guys taking shots just to get through the half and this dude can’t even play with a minor sprain” one teammate told me. “You can’t win with guys like that,” he added.
Julius Thomas missed 28 total games in his first four years and a report like this may explain some of the reasoning behind it. 2014 brought more of the same. He sprained his ankle early in the Rams game in week 11 and after sitting out the next three games, never returned to form. In the final eight games of the 2014 season, he registered just 66 total receiving yards.
It’s tough to imagine another team offering Julius Thomas big time money knowing that he truly doesn’t have the “DNA to put it all out there” like his teammate insisted. But there are 32 teams in the NFL and one is bound to fall in love with idea of Julius Thomas catching touchdowns.
I talked about this story on Mondays show. The audio is below.