Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas seems likely to test the free agent market, a sign he might not return to the team in 2015

By SI Wire
February 19, 2015

Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas seems likely to test the free agent market, reports Mike Klis of The Denver Post.

Thomas, who will turn 27 in June, was limited to 13 games in 2014 by an ankle injury. He caught 43 passes for 489 yards and 12 touchdowns, but the ankle injury — the second of his career — limited him to five catches over the Broncos' final seven games.

Those numbers failed to live up to Thomas' breakout 2013 season, when he caught 65 passes for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games.

Questions linger for GMs, coaches at NFL combine

The Broncos have meetings planned with a variety of their free agents-to-be at this week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but not Thomas, reports the Post, which said it is "not promising" that the three-year tight end returns to Denver.

Thomas, a 2011 fourth-round draft pick out of Portland State, earned about $2 million over his four-year rookie contract.

In July, Thomas reportedly turned down a multi-year contract from the Broncos worth $8 million annually. That would have made him the third-highest paid tight end behind the New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham and New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski, reports the Post.

Report: Expanded NFL playoffs no longer likely for 2015

Other Denver free agents include wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker, guard/tackle Orlando Franklin, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and safety Rahim Moore, among others.

The Broncos finished 12-4 last season, losing to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC divisional playoffs. Quarterback Peyton Manning, who has been with the team since 2012, reportedly told the Broncos he plans to return for another season. Head coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday at the combine that there's "no doubt" the Broncos want Manning back even at age 39.

Mike Fiammetta

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