Denver Broncos executive vice president and general manager John Elway spoke to the media on a conference call Wednesday afternoon to tackle topics surrounding Demaryius Thomas’ new contract extension. Elway touched on everything from how the entire DT deal went down to how a player’s character impacts long-term contracts.

Here’s what stood out:

Elway: “I think you look at the player as a whole. You look at the person as a whole…When you’re paying this kind of money to a player, you’re hoping that you’re doing it for not only the right player on the field, but off the field.”

Elway: (On when contract negotiations began) “It really started this morning (Wednesday). We had met with (Thomas’ agent) Todd France back at the end of May—first of June—and both got our offers on the table. At that point in time, there wasn’t any movement until this morning. Once again, things got going this morning. That’s really when we had get a deal done.”

Elway: “We tried to figure out what we believed was the correct value for us and for the Broncos as well as Demaryius. I think it just took a while to get to that point.”

Elway: “…We look at what the value is to the Broncos, what we can afford, how that fits into the structure and how that fits into our football team. All of those things are going into consideration when we determine what we’re going to pay somebody…We’re well aware of the people that we have coming up. We have a lot of good football players coming up. But with Demaryius—he’s obviously a big part of that and he’s the first part of trying to keep this football team together.”

Elway: “D.T. was the first step. We will have a plan for Von (Miller) next year as well as with other players. We have several other really good football players coming into their last year. We’ll monitor as many as we can. It’s impossible to hold on to everybody in the salary cap era, but we’re going to do the very best we can to keep them all.”

Elway: “I think that he got bit by the injury bug early in his career and he has been able to fight through that to have three solid years when he’s been healthy. That’s a maturation process. That’s what we have seen the past three years from Demaryius and what we’ll see for the next five as a big-play guy and a No. 1 receiver.”

Elway: “Demaryius wanted to stay in Denver, and we wanted him to want to stay here.”

Thomas’ contract is worth $70 million with $43.5 million guaranteed. According to, DT’s contract is second among highest-paid NFL receivers to only Calvin Johnson. Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant, who signed his extension concurrently with Thomas, ranked third on the list.

Mike Tolbert, a Mile High Sports intern and MSU-Denver student, contributed to this report