Seahawks’ S Earl Thomas announces he’s holding out until contract situation is resolved
Seahawks All Pro safety Earl Thomas announced Sunday morning he plans to hold out of all team activities until his contract situation is resolved.
Thomas was absent from OTAs earlier this month, but head coach Pete Carroll told reporters he expected Thomas to attend Seattle’s first mandatory minicamp, which kicks off Tuesday, June 12.
“I want everyone especially the 12s to know that I want to remain a Seahawk for the rest of my career,” Thomas wrote in a statement published to Twitter, “but I also believe that based on my production over the last 8 years that I have earned the right to have this taken care of as soon as possible.”
— Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) June 10, 2018
What is Earl Thomas’ contract situation?
Thomas is entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal he signed in 2014. He’s scheduled to collect about $8.5 million in base salary. That makes him one of the top-paid safeties in the league, though he trails the Chiefs’ Eric Berry (six years, $78 million), Dolphins’ Reshad Jones (five years, $60 million), Vikings’ Harrison Smith (five years, $51.25 million), and Patriots’ Devin McCourty (five years, $47.5 million).
Contractually, Thomas is set to remain with the Seahawks for one more season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in March-April 2019. But he also has a case to make: Seattle has offered extensions to fellow safety Kam Chancellor, defensive end Michael Bennett, and running back Marshawn Lynch when they had as much time remaining on their respective deals. And while it’s been argued Thomas’ age (he turned 29 in May) should bar a lucrative deal, Chancellor, Bennett and Lynch were all older than Thomas is now when they were awarded those extensions.
Also working in Thomas’ favor is Seattle’s current defense. The team lost several All Pro defensive veterans this offseason, including Bennett, Richard Sherman, and Cliff Avril. They could also lose Chancellor, pending the results of scans on a neck injury this June.
But it’s no easy decision. The Seahawks have other players to keep in mind. Left tackle Duane Brown is primed for an extension this offseason, and quarterback Russell Wilson will require his own mega deal next season. Without Bennett and Avril, Seattle may also need to consider investing in more help on the defensive line (whether via trade or by signing a player that gets cut later this summer).
What’s happened so far this offseason?
Thomas initially voiced concern over his contract at the Pro Bowl in January, though rumors about his future with Seattle began one month earlier when, after a win over the Cowboys, the Texas-native encouraged Dallas head coach Jason Garrett to sign him if he became available.
Unsurprisingly, Thomas was the subject of trade rumors with Dallas once the NFL Draft rolled around in April. However, those mostly died down after the Cowboys’ second-round pick came and went without being traded.