Posted Fri Aug 10th by Jon Heath
Back in April, the Denver Broncos and free agent Marcus Thomas were in a standoff over the defensive tackle’s future. Two other teams reportedly were interested in Thomas’ services and the Broncos offered him a one-year deal, which he turned down for want of a longer commitment.
At the time, Thomas told fans he’d sign with Denver “Whenever they call me.” This was interpreted by yours truly as “agent-speak” to get the fans on Thomas’ side while he was really arguing for more money behind closed doors.
Eventually, the Broncos gave away Thomas’ jersey number, signed defensive tackle Justin Bannan and drafted Derek Wolfe in the second round of the draft. Thomas remains a free agent while, as of Friday evening, Bannan, Ty Warren, Kevin Vickerson and Mitch Unrein are the top four defensive tackles on Denver’s depth chart.
As it turns out, I may have misjudged Thomas. What appeared to have been a player holding out for more money may have actually been the team simply deciding to move in a different direction. Thomas’ most recent remarks seem to reinforce such a theory.
Will work for practice squad Moneyinstagr.am/p/OJ6RgYzUYV/
— Marcus Thomas (@MarcusThomas_79) August 10, 2012
Thomas posted an image of himself Friday morning on Instagram, a social media network for sharing vintage-style photos, with the caption, “Will work for practice squad money,” obviously implying that he is desperate for work and would sign for a low price.
Has Thomas’ stance he took in April changed, making him willing to play for cheap after being away from the game for several months? Or did the Broncos never really consider bringing Thomas back and weren’t interested in his services, no matter the price tag?
Nobody outside of Dove Valley (save Marcus Thomas) knows. But we do know one thing; none of the DTs on Denver’s roster can do blackflips or false start dances like Thomas did. Regrettably for Thomas, those athletic feats are not of much importance to the Broncos.
Thomas, 26, started in eleven games last season and recorded 43 tackles. Re-signing him for “practice squad money” would not be a questionable move by the Broncos, who do not have extravagant depth in the middle of the defensive line.
But Thomas, who is not practice squad eligible, was obviously speaking figuratively regarding employment salary. Per CBA rules, the minimum weekly salary for practice squad players is $5,700, or about $91,200 a year. Thomas is entering his sixth year in the NFL and under CBA rules; the minimum salary for such a player would be $685,000 — about $593,800 more than “practice squad money.”
If Thomas truly is willing to work for the league minimum, it is surprising that no teams, not even the Broncos, have been kicking his tires. Either he’s exaggerating big time, or all 32 teams in the NFL think they have better, cheaper options at defensive tackle. The former seems more likely.