Free agency is just right around the corner and the Broncos who should have plenty of cap space figure to be very active once the free agency period opens. One of the biggest names available will be former Seattle Seahawks All-Pro safety, Earl Thomas.
Age: 29 years old
Experience: 9 years
Earl Thomas played his college ball at Texas and while it was a short tenure at that program, Thomas proved to be one of the best safety prospects in the country.
During Thomas’s two seasons at Texas, he totaled 135 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 10 interceptions, and 2 defensive touchdowns. This play helped Thomas be a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft where the Seattle Seahawks selected him with the 14th overall pick. He has since played his entire career with the Seahawks but will be changing teams this offseason.
Thomas has played 9 seasons in the NFL and since has become of the more feared defensive players in the game. During his nine-year career, Thomas has totaled 664 tackles, 68 pass deflections, 28 interceptions, 2 defensive touchdowns, and 10 forced fumbles. Thomas’s 2018 season was cut short because of a broken bone in his leg that he suffered during the Seahawks week four matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
Thomas is ranked as the second-best free agent this offseason according to Pro Football Focus.
On the one hand, he’ll be 30 years old coming off a broken leg. On the other, he’s been unquestionably an elite safety nearly his entire career. Thomas earned 90.0-plus grades each of the past two seasons, and even if he loses a step at his age, he’s still the best safety on the market.
With the Broncos looking to be active in free agency and needing some help in the back end of their secondary, could they make a big splash and sign Earl Thomas?
Why this makes sense:
Elway is known for making big splashes in free agency. Peyton Manning. DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, Wes Welker, and so on. Now could he go out and sign arguably the best defensive back in the entire NFL? I could see it happening.
The Broncos hired Vic Fangio to be their Head Coach and he’ll bring his defensive expertise to the defensive side of the ball. He turned Eddie Jackson into a top talent in Chicago and he was a key part to the Bears defensive success. Thomas would fill that same role and may even do it better. Fangio likely will play more zone coverage which would allow Thomas to roam the field and do what he does best.
If Elway and the Broncos are serious about keeping their defense strong, Thomas should be high on their wish list.
The tight end issue the Broncos have long had would suddenly go away. Thomas’s range and ability to cover the middle of the field would help in that area. He would help the Broncos corners much like he helped the Seattle corners during his tenure there. Honestly, it is a win-win for the Broncos.
Plus, you have the Mahomes factor. He isn’t going away anytime soon and a player of Thomas’s caliber would instantly help the Broncos chances of slowing him down moving forward.
Why this doesn’t make sense:
While money figures to be the big deciding factor here, I think Thomas is more interested in playing with the Cowboys.
The Cowboys tried acquiring the All-Pro safety during the last offseason and prior to the trade deadline this year, but they could never agree to terms and his injury happened. However, there appears to be mutual interest on both sides and I could see it coming together this offseason.
Also, there is the fact that Thomas has been on record saying he hates the Denver Broncos. Here is what Thomas had to say about the Broncos prior to Super Bowl 48.
“Let me tell you something about the Broncos,” Thomas said. “I had just got through benching — this is at the NFL combine, I think I’m 20 years old – and a (Broncos) guy brought me out back. He caught me off guard. He had this personnel sheet and he’s asking me, ‘What is this? What type of personnel?’ I can’t tell him anything. Because I had never learned it. So he was judging me. I’m glad I’m here in Seattle because I don’t think I would have liked it (in Denver.)”
Now, this happened nearly a decade ago and there is a different regime running the team and this quote is also four years old. However, grudges are real and Thomas may still be holding one against the Broncos.
Finally, it’s the price tag. Thomas figures to be heavily coveted on the free agent market and probably will go past the Broncos price range. Elway isn’t known for throwing big-time money at free agents or budging past a line he drew in the sand. Plus, do you want the Broncos to throw big money and a long term deal at a soon to be 30-year old safety coming off a leg injury?
My thoughts here will be short and sweet. Thomas in a Fangio led defense with Von and Chubb rushing the passer would be a dream, I just don’t see it happening. Would love it, and I expect a safety to be signed, but Thomas likely won’t be the safety joining the Broncos.
Do you want the Broncos to sign safety Earl Thomas?
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