ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Demaryius Thomas is bracing for a trade after Denver slipped to 3-5 midway through his ninth NFL season.
Thomas, the Broncos’ longest-tenured player, put the odds at “50-50” that he’ll be summoned into general manager John Elway’s office by the trade deadline Tuesday afternoon to learn whose jersey he’ll be wearing next.
The Patriots and Eagles, who met in the Super Bowl nine months ago, are both thin at receiver and might be willing to take on Thomas, who has a 2019 salary cap figure of $15.53 million.
Thomas is tied for the team lead with three touchdown catches. But his high salary and the emergence of rookie Courtland Sutton as a big-play threat could spell an end to Thomas’ time in Denver.
“How would you feel at your job (if) your boss, whoever, said they wanted you someplace else? And you came into work every day and have to think about it? How would you feel?” Thomas fumed after the Broncos’ 30-23 loss at Kansas City.
“But I had to do it for my team, like it was normal, act like it was normal. It just kept coming up, from left and right … I had to think about it.”
On Monday morning, Thomas tweeted: “You may not be able to control every situation and it’s (sic) outcome, but you can control your attitude and how you deal with it.”
Thomas said nobody with the Broncos had told him if the team was entertaining offers for his services or whether he could be traded: “No, my agent told me something. That’s it.”
Asked if he felt someone with the team should have said something to him, Thomas said, “It should have never got out, to tell you the truth. I wouldn’t even have been thinking about it if it never would have gotten out. Nobody would even be talking about it.”
Coach Vance Joseph insisted Monday that he’s spoken with Thomas several times about the trade talk.
“I’ve talked to D.T. probably five times about this subject and he’s been a great pro,” Joseph said.
Joseph said he’s spoken to Thomas about “just the business side and the talk and the rumors. He can’t walk through his day without hearing from me. That’s not right. So, we’ve talked openly about (how) he’s a good player. People want good players on their teams. So, everyone’s going to want to call about four or five of our guys. So, I’m not surprised that people are calling.
“It’s no guarantee that he’s going to be moved,” Joseph added. “But he gets the business side. We’ve communicated clearly for the last week and he’s been a great pro.”
Joseph added that Elway hasn’t communicated any Thomas trade possibility to him: “Obviously, that’s John’s department and I’m sure he’s getting calls and he’s probably making calls. But he has not. It’s my job to coach the team and coach the players. That’s my focus.”
Asked whether he’s hopeful that the Broncos aren’t sellers, Joseph said, “I’m not hopeful about anything, to be honest. Again, my focus is … Tuesday’s game plan, Wednesday’s practice and the Texans on Sunday.”
The Broncos are usually looking to bolster their lineup at the trade deadline, not shed salary.
“It does not bother me,” Joseph said. “Whatever we’re doing here in the front office is to make us better. We want to win now and win in the future, obviously. So, whatever John’s going to do between now and tomorrow at 2 o’clock is to make us better. So, I’m on board.”
Elway hasn’t commented publicly on the possibility of trading Thomas, a first-round draft pick in 2010 who has collected 66 touchdown catches in 135 career games, including playoffs. He’s served as a captain and has been a durable, consistent go-to receiver for quarterbacks Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton, Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian and Case Keenum.
Asked if a win over the Chiefs (7-1) to get Denver to 4-4 might have helped his odds of staying in Denver, Thomas said, “Yes, sir, probably so.”
Chris Harris Jr. said he hopes the trade deadline passes without a deal for Thomas.
“I love D.T.,” Harris said, “I’ve won a lot of games with him. So, I know I can continue to win with him.”
Yet, he realizes the Broncos have put themselves in this position with poor play and penalties.
“It’s the NFL. It’s all business and we’re not winning,” Harris said. “When you don’t win, I think anything can happen.”
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)