2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Broncos: Shannon Sharpe on Julius Thomas

Published: July 17, 2014, 8:35 pm, by Paul Klee

Broncos tight end Julius Thomas is nearing contract time. In light of Jimmy Graham’s $40-million deal, here’s what John Elway said about Thomas’ contract status.

“Even though Julius has a tremendous year for us, he’s only (played) 23 games. We want Julius to be a Bronco for a long time and we think he has tremendous upside, but he’s not at that level,” Elway told my neighbor Lindsay Jones of USA Today.

That’s what the best quarterback in Broncos history says about Thomas.

What about the best tight end in Broncos history? I asked Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.

“I think he’s just scratching the surface. Once he really understands defenses and routes and combinations and setting up another play — not this play, but another play later in the game — he’s going to be OK,” Sharpe said in a phone conversation this week. “He’s new to this. He played basketball for all those years. Now he’s playing on the biggest stage and he’s playing with a lot of confidence.

Sharpe’s advice to Julius Thomas: Roll with it. Let the numbers pile up, which they will in the Broncos offense, and worry about the contract later.

“He has a guy in Peyton (Manning) that can get him the football,” Sharpe said. “You can’t double him. You’ve still got that big stud on the outside in DT (Demaryius Thomas). You’ve got (Emmanuel) Sanders in there. He’s got enough parts around him where a defense can’t say, ‘Today we’re going to take Julius Thomas out of the game.’”

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette