SALISBURY, N.C. — Thomas times two could mean millions by the mega.
The Broncos have opened contract negotiations with the agents of wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas.
"We've already talked to them to see if we can do something before the beginning of the year," said Broncos general manager John Elway, who was in Salibury on Monday to present former Denver Post, Sports Illustrated and ESPN writer Rick Reilly into the National Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. "We'd like to get something done before the beginning of camp. We don't want to do anything once training camp starts. They're both in their last years, and we'd like for them to stay and be Broncos for a long time."
Demaryius Thomas, a 2010 first-round draft pick who is coming off back-to- back seasons of Pro Bowl-caliber production, might command a contract worth $12 million a year based on the receiver's 2014 franchise tag salary.
Julius Thomas, a fourth-round draft pick in 2011 who had a breakout season in his third year of 2013, might be looking at a $7 million annual average.
Otherwise, Elway has finished most of his business in his attempt to improve the Broncos in 2014. That wasn't easy, considering the Broncos were AFC champions in 2013.
But it was the Super Bowl where the Broncos' deficiencies were exposed, particularly on defense. Elway signed pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, cover corner Aqib Talib, strong safety T.J. Ward and receiver Emmanuel Sanders from free agency to a combined 2014 payout of $38 million.
"When we look at what we did offensively, there wasn't a huge need as much as we thought we had needs on the defensive side," Elway said, referring to a team that scored an NFL-record 606 points last season but finished 21st in scoring defense. "When we go into training camp, my job is to look at the piece of paper and say we're better than we were the year before. And I think we've done that."
Elway said he would stick with his "kid" running backs, led by Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman, for now, but that the team still is evaluating the move of Orlando Franklin from right offensive tackle to left guard and Nate Irving to starting middle linebacker.
"Orlando's been good," Elway said. "He's still raw. Anytime you make that change, it's going to take some time to get adjusted to it. He's smart enough and athletic enough that I think he'll be able to make that change.
"Nate's doing fine, but middle linebacker — you've got to get the pads on. I still expect Nate to do a good job there. He's smart and understands the defense."
Elway's personal schedule has been plenty busy lately. His daughter Jordan just had a baby shower, as she's due in July with John's first grandchild.
"I just delivered everything and had to take off," Elway said.
Elway did not wish to say much about his son Jack's arrest last week on an assault charge.
"He's doing fine," Elway said.
And in something that doesn't often happen in today's athlete-media relationship, Elway was Reilly's Hall of Fame presenter Monday.
Why do this for Reilly?
"He was in my (Stanford) dorm room back in '83," Elway said. "After I got traded to Denver, he was the first guy I really spent time with. He was working for The Post. So it started right then. We've been friends ever since. I was honored he asked me to do this. His articles and everything he writes have always been humorous and very entertaining."
Reilly said he remembers walking into the dorm room and seeing a list of chores for everyone to do. Reilly saw this:
Why pick Elway?
"Because he's my favorite athlete ever," said Reilly, who graduated from the University of Colorado. "And then we became friends, because I've never met anybody who treated fans better."