Thomas said his hips bothered him for much of the 2016 season, but he doesn't expect them to be a problem in 2017, ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold reports. Though he needed some time for his troublesome hips to heal, Thomas should be ready to participate in most or all of the Broncos' offseason program. He hinted he has a plan to avoid future problems of a similar nature, saying "I'll be on top of it," when asked if he thought his hips would be an issue during the upcoming season. The larger concern is Denver's quarterback play, with Thomas coming off a 2016 season in which he had his lowest marks for receptions (90), receiving yards (1,083) and touchdowns (five) since 2011, despite playing all 16 games for a fifth straight year. The team is expected to hold a competition between Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, hoping that both players' increased experience -- in addition to an improved offensive line -- will at least push the Denver offense back toward the middle of the NFL pack.
Thomas reeled in 90 passes for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns during the 2016 season. Thomas' production across the board represented his lowest totals since the 2011 season. It is no coincidence that the four years of elite-level production in between were with Peyton Manning at the helm. Though Thomas still found his way into the Pro Bowl, he lacked consistent play with only two games of 100 yards or more and no touchdowns after the Broncos' Week 11 bye. New head coach Vance Joseph has promised a more up-tempo, aggressive offense in 2017, but without strides from last year's starter Trevor Siemian or 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch, there might not be enough quality passes to go around to sustain both Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who often looked like the No. 1 man in Mile High.
Thomas caught four of six targets for 47 yards in Sunday's win over the Raiders. Thomas briefly left Sunday's game with an injury, but soon returned. During a rough 2016 season for Denver's offense, Thomas still managed to top 90 catches and 1,000 yards for the fifth straight year. Plenty of questions will need to be answered before he shoots for number six. Head coach Gary Kubiak is set to retire and Thomas is likely to be playing in a new offense next season. He might also be catching passes from a new quarterback, depending on whether the new staff decides to stick with Trevor Siemian, move on with 2016 first-rounder Paxton Lynch or look elsewhere for solutions.
Thomas caught three of eight targets for 20 yards in Sunday's loss to Kansas City. Despite the offense's floundering, Thomas was actually showing well in recent weeks, with 28 catches in Denver's first four games after the bye. That all came crashing down on Sunday with season lows in catches and yards. It's been a tough year for Thomas with an uncustomary level of inexperience at quarterback and he might get rookie Paxton Lynch tossing passes his way in what amounts to a meaningless Week 17. In Lynch's two starts this season, Thomas has caught 11 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Thomas had seven receptions on 11 targets for 91 yards in Sunday's 16-3 loss to the Patriots. Thomas easily led the Broncos in all receiving categories, and was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lackluster offensive performance. Even though Denver has scored just a total of 13 points over the last two games, Thomas has been able to produce, catching 17 of 27 targets for 217 yards. On a negative note, he hasn't scored a touchdown since Nov. 13. Next week, he'll take on the Chiefs in Kansas City.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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