As we continue our review of Denver Broncos Free Agents, it's time to look at Defensive Tackle Marcus Thomas, who has forever been linked to Mike Shanahan's furious run of Defensive lineman draft picks in the 2007 draft.
Marcus was selected in the 4th round with the 121st pick by the Broncos out of Florida. He has played in 76 games (34 starts) for the Broncos and in 2010, joined Rubin Carter (1975-78) as the only interior defensive linemen in Broncos history to play every game during their first four professional seasons. With the exception of 2009, when the team ran a 2-5 front with Elvis Dumervil having his hand on the ground, Marcus has increased his Tackle numbers (and playing time) each year. He recorded his second highest Tackle total (35) in 2010, including his first career Sack against the New York Jets in Week 6. Thomas is tied for second in team history among defensive linemen with two career interceptions.
Marcus also had one pass defensed, one Quarterback Hit and 4 Tackles For Loss
Marcus beat out Kevin Vickerson for the starting job in Training Camp. Big Vick was awarded a new contract during the offseason shed 25 pounds, dropping from 310 pounds down to 285 and then got injured.
In Week 5 against San Diego, Thomas had 8 Tackles. At Miami (Week 7) he recorded two Tackles in his first start of the 2011 season.
Against Chicago in Week 14, Marcus had six Tackles including two for a loss.
In the New England game during Week 15, his nine total tackles tied Chris Harris as the leading Tacklers for the game.
He had another 4 Tackles in the divisional playoff game against the Patriots.
Thomas has excellent power, size and athleticism. He is a ball-hawk defender who excels at stuffing the run but also has the ability to explode and make plays into the backfield. He has had off-field problems in the past (in College) and has a big challenge in proving he can stay focused on football. The motivation is not always there and he can be inconsistent at times. He is an adequate starting Defensive Lineman.
In 2011, Marcus made $1 Million. He has stated he wants to stay in Denver, but is sure to want a raise. The minimum he could receive in 2012 would be $700,000. I don't see him signing for that. Thomas and the Broncos could nor agree to an extension last season and that may have mainly been a cause of the Lockout. Many teams refused to sign long term deals because of the uncertain future. Now that has been resolved and maybe they can come to terms. Marcus has definitely improved each season and i believe he has earned a new deal.
There are a few options in the Free Agency pool as well as the draft. The Broncos also have to make a decision on whether to sign Brodrick Bunkley as well. Ty Warren, Kevin Vickerson, Ryan McBean, Mitch Unrein, Jeremy Jarmon and Sealver Siliga are the others at hand.