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Projecting the Value of Demaryius Thomas

Projecting the Value of Demaryius Thomas
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UPDATED Contract Forecast: Demaryius Thomas

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The Broncos had 22 unrestricted free agents this past offseason, and watched many of them walk away to big paydays elsewhere. This included the loss of star TE Julius Thomas, who received a whopping 5 year $46M free agent contract from the Jaguars. In return for these subtractions, it appears Denver is close to coming to terms on a long-term extension for WR Demaryuis Thomas, who was offered a $12.8M franchise tag for the upcoming 2015 season. We'll compare Thomas' recent production against a set of variable wide receivers of similar age and skill to formulate a value projection for what his new deal might look like.

Comparable Wide Receivers
We've selected a variable set of receivers to compare Thomas to in terms of production. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Age When Signed
Mike Wallace 5 $60,000,000 $12,000,000 27
Jeremy Maclin 5 $55,000,000 $11,000,000 27
Dwayne Bowe 5 $56,000,000 $11,200,000 28
Calvin Johnson 7 $113,455,000 $16,207,857 26
Averages 5.5 $71,113,750 $12,601,964 27

Note: A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.

View the list of Top Average Paid Wide Receivers in the NFL

Because Thomas will likely be 27 years old at the time of his next contract, we'll adjust the above contracts for Bowe/Johnson up/down to normalize them as if they also signed their deals at age 27. Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:

Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
5 $66,935,049 $13,387,009
Statistical Analyzations, Prime Percentage
Now let's analyze these players statistically in the year prior to signing their second contract by showing Games Played, Receptions per Game, Receiving Yards per Game, Yards of Catch per Game and Touchdowns per Year.
Player Games REC/G REC YDs/G Tar/G REC TD/YR
Mike Wallace (2011-12, PIT) 15.5 4.38 65.5 7.25 8
Jeremy Maclin (2013-14, PHI) 15.5 4.96 69.75 8.54 8.5
Dwayne Bowe (2011-12, KC) 14.5 5.18 67.6 8.25 4
Calvin Johnson (2010-11, DET) 15.5 5.54 90.4 9.51 14
Averages 15.25 5.01 73.3 8.38 8.625
Demaryius Thomas (2013-14, DEN) 16 6.375 95.3 10.18 12.5
% Difference 4.92% 27.18% 29.95% 21.37% 44.93%
MEDIAN PRIME %: 27.18%
Thomas brings forth one of the more dominant evaluations we've ever done, producing positive comparisons in every statistical category. Thomas gains more than two times the yards after catch of any of our variable receivers, and nearly scores at that rate as well. We'll factor in both the Average and Median percentages to show a range projection below.
Guaranteed Money
Thomas hasn't missed a game since before the 2012 season, meaning his durability matches his production. This can be a huge leverage point when negotiating guaranteed money in a contract.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Mike Wallace $60,000,000 $27,000,000 45.00%
Dwayne Bowe $56,000,000 $20,000,000 35.7%
Jeremy Maclin $55,000,000 $22,500,000 40.9%
Calvin Johnson $113,455,000 $46,755,000 41.2%
Adjusted Regression: 45%

Length of the Contract
Now 27 years old, Thomas is likely looking at a 5 year deal, replacing the franchise tag he's currently sitting on for the 2015 season. This deal should carry him through the 2019 season, at 32 years of age.

Value of the Contract
Thomas has been high character, elite, exceptionally productive, reliable, and clutch - a recipe for disaster when it comes to negotiations from the front office. When Factoring in our previously determined Prime Percentages, we're left with the following:

Low Value (Hometown Discount)
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (20.31%)
5 years, $80,529,000 | $16,105,800 per year | $36,000,000 guaranteed
High Value
Utilizing our Median Prime Percentage (21.37%), we've given a slightly bigger forecast:
5 years, $81,239,000 | $16,247,800 per year | $38,400,000 guaranteed

When averaging our two values, we're given the following forecast for Demaryius Thomas' potential extension:

Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $80,884,000
Average annual salary $16,176,800, estimated $37,200,000 guaranteed

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