ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Deadlines usually spur action, and the one that hit at 2 p.m. Wednesday was no different.
With the hours dwindling and the window to sign a long-term contract closing, the stasis in the negotiations between the Broncos and Demaryius Thomas evaporated early Wednesday, and by 1:55 p.m. MDT, a five-year deal between the parties was announced.
Take a look through Demaryius Thomas' career as a Denver Bronco, including his milestones.
"It really started this morning," said Executive Vice President/General Manager John Elway late Thursday afternoon. "We met with (agent) Todd France back on the first of June, end of May. We both got offers on the table. At that point in time, there wasn't any movement until this morning.
"So once things got going this morning, then that's when we got a deal done."
The result was what Elway termed a "very fair deal for both sides." The Broncos got a contract that fits into their recent "pay-as-you-go" philosophy, and Thomas got a massive initial guarantee.
"They were where they were, and we were where we were, and we were able to come together," Elway said. "We wanted to get a deal done; they knew that. Demaryius wanted to stay in Denver, and we wanted him to want to stay in Denver, so I think eventually there was going to be a deal done. It was just a matter of trying to get those terms where we both could live with those terms."
Thomas' deal was announced less than an hour after the Cowboys announced their contract with wide receiver Dez Bryant, another member of the draft class of 2010 who received the franchise tag. Their comparable production yielded similar contracts.
"We had our numbers set up, and we did figure out what we believed was the correct value for Broncos as well as for Demaryius. It just took a while to get to that point," Elway said. "I think any time that you have two special football players at the same position that are going into a franchise year, there's always caution in that no one jumps the gun. That's why it went as long as it went, to be able to make sure that everybody -- especially from the agent side -- was where they needed to be.
"... There's no question that DT is one of the top wide receivers in the league, and he's being compensated that way now," Elway added later. "So we have high expectations. We think he's coming right into his prime. We don't anticipate him backing up at all -- especially with the expectations being increased now."
Thomas' character and reputation at team headquarters also mattered in the Broncos' decision to commit so much guaranteed money to him.
"That's definitely a part of the decision-making process," Elway said, "because when you're paying this kind of money to a player, you're hoping that he's not only the right kind of player on the field, but also the right player off [the field]."
Thomas wasn't the first of this wave of homegrown Broncos to receive a new contract, following in the footsteps of cornerback Chris Harris Jr. last December. He also won't be the last, with a slew of expiring contracts lurking over the horizon for next winter, a group led by pending unrestricted free agents Von Miller, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan and projected restricted free agent C.J. Anderson.
"We're prepared for all those," Elway said. "I think that's what it comes down to, when we look at what the value is for the Broncos, what we can afford and how we can fit it in the structure and how that fits into our football team. All of those things will go into consideration when we determine what we're going to pay somebody."
Elway said the team has plans for three and four years down the line to fit the players they want to retain within their salary-cap budget.
"We're well aware of what we have coming up. We have a lot of good football players coming up. Demaryius is a big part of that, and that's why he's the first part of trying to keep this football team together."
Added Elway later: "DT was the first step, and we'll have a plan for Von next year as well as other players. We've got a couple of other really good football players that are also coming into their last year, and we'll try to hold onto as many as we can. Obviously it's impossible to hold on to everyone in the salary-cap era, but we're going to do our best to keep them all."