EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS/GENERAL MANAGER JOHN ELWAY**
On the importance of a player's character in working out long-term contracts
"I think you look at the player as a whole. You look at the person as a whole. I think that whatever you put to that—whatever percent you put to that—is different in every case. But yeah, that's definitely a part of the decision making process because of the fact that when you're paying this kind of money to a player, you're hoping that you're doing it for not only the right player on the field, but off the field."
On when the contract negotiations with WR Demaryius Thomas began
"It really started this morning. I think that we had met with [Thomas' agent] Todd France back in end of May—first of June—and both got our offers on the table. At that point in time, there wasn't any movement until this morning. Once again, things got going this morning. That's really when we had get a deal done."
On Thomas missing OTAs
"There is no [one] side to this. Everybody thinks about it differently. I think that we'll just have to be careful with D.T. when he comes into training camp and really manage him and get him up to speed with what we're doing mentally, but also because he didn't have the OTAs or the minicamps. We're going to have to be able to monitor that very closely and make sure that we get him up to speed and don't take any unnecessary risks with him. It's part of the business. We're thrilled that we were able to get the deal done with him and that D.T. is going to be a Bronco for another five years. We have high expectations that he is going to be a big part of the success we have."
Take a look through Demaryius Thomas' career as a Denver Bronco, including his milestones.
On the signing impacting the salary cap in the future
"We prepare for all of those [scenarios]. We look at what the value is to the Broncos, what we can afford, how that fits into the structure and how that fits into our football team. All of those things are going into consideration when we determine what we're going to pay somebody. We're well aware of the people that we have coming up. We have a lot of good football players coming up. But with Demaryius—he's obviously a big part of that and he's the first part of trying to keep this football team together. I think it was a very fair deal for both sides."
On if [Dallas Cowboys WR] Dez Bryant's contract influenced getting a deal done with Thomas
"We had our numbers set up and picked out. We tried to figure out what we believed was the correct value for us and for the Broncos as well as Demaryius. I think it just took a while to get to that point. Any time you have two special football players at the same position that are going into a franchise year, there is always caution that no one jumps the gun. I think it went as long as it went to be able to make sure that everybody—especially from the agent side—that they were where they needed to be."
On the club's confidence in Thomas' future production
"I think you look at the production that D.T. has had in the last three years. I don't think there's any question that D.T. is one of the top wide receivers in the league and he's being compensated that way now. It's very well deserved on D.T.'s part. We have high expectations. We think he's coming right into his prime and we don't anticipate him backing up at all. The expectations are going to be increased now and we just think that he has all the skills. Plus with the type of person he is, he's the type of player and guy that we want on the Denver Broncos. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in D.T. and it's why we're comfortable paying this kind of money."
On whether OLB Von Miller's contract situation influenced making a deal with Thomas
"We are always planning for the future. Everyone talks about us winning now, and my point is that we want to win from now on. When we go through our budget meetings year in and year out, that is what we look at. We have a three-year plan and a four-year plan, and we try to look into the future to see where we are in order to budget everybody to keep all of our great football players. That is what we want to do—draft well, keep our own and fill in with free agency where we can. D.T. was the first step. We will have a plan for Von next year as well as with other players. We have several other really good football players coming into their last year. We'll monitor as many as we can. It's impossible to hold on to everybody in the salary cap era, but we're going to do the very best we can to keep them all."
On the contract negotiations with Thomas
"There is always movement, but I think until you get any kind of deadline, it's hard to get anything going. They were where they were and we were where we were. We were able to come together. [Director of Football Administration] Mike Sullivan, on our end, as well as Todd France, who is Demaryius' representative, did a tremendous job getting to the common ground. We wanted to get a deal done—they knew that. Demaryius wanted to stay in Denver, and we wanted him to want to stay here. It was just a matter of trying to get those terms where both sides could live with them and we were able to do that."
On if he has spoken with QB Peyton Manning
"I have not talked to Peyton. Demaryius was the target for us this year and we were able to get that done. If you look at what he has done the past three years and really what he has done since he has been in Denver, you will see he has been a tremendous player for us. He's an explosive player with big play capabilities. When you look outside and see a guy that is 6-3 and 225 pounds with the ability to score anytime he gets the ball in his hands has the ability to score, it makes you more explosive as an offense and a quarterback."
On the development of Thomas
"I think that he has continued to get better. He's a hard worker, studies and he's smart. He is a student of the game. I think that he got bit by the injury bug early in his career and he has been able to fight through that to have three solid years when he's been healthy. That's a maturation process. That's what we have seen the past three years from Demaryius and what we'll see for the next five as a big-play guy and a No. 1 receiver."