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Published on 02/17/2012 at Fri Feb 17 14:30.
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Marcus Thomas pressures Matt Cassel

Marcus Thomas
Name: Marcus Thomas
Height, Weight: 6’3″, 316
Position: Defensive Tackle
Age, Experience: 26, 6
College: Florida

Marcus Thomas is a defensive tackle who does back flips. He’s also the only remaining player on the Denver Broncos roster from the team’s 2007 draft class, and he’s survived two scheme changes, several position changes, and five defensive coordinators to remain on the team to this point. A healthy mainstay as a rotational player on the defensive line, Thomas is one of two Broncos interior D-linemen in franchise history to play in every game in his first four seasons. He’s gone from alleged off-field troublemaker to being recognized by the NFL for his leadership in community service.

2011 Analysis: Thomas missed the first four weeks of the regular season with a strained right pectoral muscle he suffered in preseason — those games were the first and only four absences of Thomas’s NFL career. He was starting at DT next to NT Brodrick Bunkley by Week 7, and he remained in that position the rest of the season. Thomas turned in a solid season, and he finished with a career-high 43 tackles.

Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent 2012

2012 Outlook: Free agent Marcus Thomas is not going to come cheaply. It’s his first chance to hit the open market, and unless the Broncos can woo him early, he’s probably going to test it. A young defensive lineman with experience, proven health, and upside is a rare commodity in the NFL, and Thomas fits the bill. He was never a game-changer or playing at a Pro Bowl level, but he was a solid contributor to the Broncos more often than not in his days in Denver. If the Broncos can’t re-sign him they will have to make a heavy investment in his replacement.

As always, we invite you, the readers, to participate. Should the Broncos keep Marcus Thomas around in 2012 or look to upgrade via free agency or, more likely, the early rounds of the 2012 draft?

Denver Broncos DT #79 Marcus Thomas - Do you approve?

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  • flbronc

    he was always billed as ‘first round talent’…  he didn’t play to first round status in my opinion but he was certainly solid.  as long as he doesnt demand huge money, i would definitely want to bring him back. 

  • 5280

    i definitely think we should keep him because he’s solid enough to keep the depth. Denver needs the depth badly. but i still think denver does into the draft and gets not one but a few DL’s.   Thomas isnt good enough to rely on to dominate the line of scrimmage and he’s not a very good run stopper.

  • Anonymous

     The thing with Thomas is that as flbronc said, he is most definitely a “1st round talent”….. the “but” in this case is that he just doesn’t seem to want to bring it on every play, or almost every play. It’s evident that when he wants to make a play, nobody can stop him. The only problem is that he only gets motivated to be that type of unstoppable force a few times a game.
    This is primarily why he wasn’t taking in the 1st round, even though he would have still been less of a bust than Jarvis Moss (same draft, teammates, etc…). Thomas is talented enough to warrant re-signing, but not consistent enough to be offered a long term, higher dollar deal. He’s kinda like Albert Haynesworth in the fact that nobody can stop them WHEN THEY WANT TO PLAY, however, nobody can tell when they will actually want to play, which as Haynesworth has shown, makes it very dangerous to feel safe about signing to any sort of high dollar deal.
    If Thomas signs with us, and matures and decides that he wants to be one of the best, then we will have a freak-of-nature talent on the line, worthy of tearing up his contract to replace it with a lucrative one. HOWEVER, he needs to show that he wants to be and can be that type of player on a consistent basis of say 2 seasons. If he can do that, then we have a cornerstone on the line. If he can’t, then we have a good rotational lineman who provides good depth for cheap.
    Really, signing Thomas is a win/win for us. We get a very talented guy for cheap, who can at any moment decide to “wake up” and become a dominant player, in which case, we’re the natural team to sign him to a long term deal. There is no downside to keeping him. Yes, we’ll still need to draft a DL to be the starter, but the draft is a crapshoot anyways, so there is no guarantee that we get someone who is any more suited to be a starter than Thomas, and we’d have to pay the rookie more money.

  • Anonymous

    I should also say that although Thomas can finally “hit the open market” so to speak, this isn’t his first time hitting the market. Last year, lockout not-without standing, he didn’t even get a sniff from any team when he was shopping his services. That somewhat woke him up to the fact that he needs to get better before he can command big money, so in a way, I think Monty is semi-wrong in his analysis that Thomas won’t “come cheap.”

    While I agree that he won’t be had for the “veteran minimum salary”, I also think that it won’t take much more than an “average” offer to retain his services. He hasn’t proven consistent enough to warrant more than a “contributor’s” wage, which is why I think it’s easily within our power to re-sign him IF and only IF our staff actually wants to. I think that if he walks, it’s more about us just wanting to move on than it is him demanding too much money.

  • Monty

    Good catch Big_Pete, and an oversight on my part. Thomas was re-signed by the Broncos last year to a one-year deal; this isn’t his first chance to hit the open market, but he came back to Denver because the Broncos were willing to pay him starter money for a one-year deal.

    Will Thomas sign anything but a long-term deal this time around?

  • Anonymous

     I think he’ll get paid as a rotational DT. Whether it’s a 3, 5, 7 year deal has yet to be seen. We just got a new salary cap guy for contracts, so nobody knows what or how we’ll do things.

    There are a few tiers of “starting” salary… There is Elite, Budding Pro-Bowler, Every Down Starter, Solid Starter, Rotational Starter, Starting to develop, Rotational, Contributor, Injury Replacement.

    Where in that spectrum do we all think Thomas is, and will be signed to be with either us or a new team? He’s clearly not elite or budding pro-bowler. Then again, he’s not an injury replacement or contributor. He’s somewhere in-between, which is the “rotational starter/starting to develop/rotational” type. This is why I say that he’ll be had for a very “average” DT salary.

    Note that I’m putting the word average inside quotes. I’m not saying average in the way that you take all DT salaries in the NFL and find the mean/average. Instead, I’m saying that whatever the “middle-of-the-playing-level-spectrum (starting rotational/rotational)” salary is, is what he’ll make. It might just so happen to coincide with the monetary average of DT salary, or it might be higher or lower. All I’m saying is that he’ll be signed as a starting rotational DT. Nothing more, but maybe a tiny bit less.