Seahawks won’t be better off trading Earl Thomas, but they might have to
Earl Thomas is not going to play it cool when it comes to his new contract.
That’s going to make it more difficult for Seattle to get the most of a trade for the All-World free safety.
It’s also going to make it easier for the Seahawks to see they have to trade him, though.
Yup. The Seahawks are going to need to get what they can for what is one of the very best safeties in the league. Not because they want to, and certainly not because they will be better off for dealing him. They won’t. It’s because all the other options are so terribly messy as to be untenable.
Thomas is due. He has one year remaining on the deal he signed the last time he was entering the final year of his contract. But he was turning 25 then. He’s turning 29 now.
The judicious thing for Seattle would be to have Thomas play out the final year of his deal and reevaluate things as his contract is set to expire.
That’s not something Thomas envisions himself doing, though. And it’s not what Seattle did for Marshawn Lynch. Or for Michael Bennett. Or Kam Chancellor. All three signed big-budget extensions before the final season of their existing deal. Lynch was 28 when he signed his last extension with Seattle. Chancellor was 29. Bennett was 30.
That’s not exactly a history of success in these sort of deals, and we haven’t even gotten to the meat of what Thomas would want in a new contract. We know he wants an extension. We don’t know what he wants in that deal, though.
The Seahawks won’t be better off by trading Thomas. He is a generational talent who is the second-best safety to ever play for this franchise.
Seattle can’t risk the possibility that he’ll get worse while making more money, though. Not at this point in time, and while Thomas’ posturing may box Seattle into a corner with regard to a future trade, it may have the effect of forcing the Seahawks to make the right decision and get what it can in terms of draft picks.
Hopefully, some other team will be willing to give up a first-round pick for the right to sign Thomas to a contract that Seattle really shouldn’t offer him.