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12 Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 2, FS Earl Thomas

Earl Thomas has one interception and 7 tackles for the Seahawks through two weeks. (AP)

Mike Salk and Brock Huard are counting down the 12 most intriguing Seahawks players every weekday morning at 9:30 a.m. leading up to the first day of training camp on July 26. (All 2018 Seahawks Training Camp dates and times can be found here.)

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The show continued the countdown Tuesday morning (with guest host Danny O’Neil filling in for Huard) by focusing on the No. 2 pick: Free safety Earl Thomas.

At a glance

Earl Thomas is a Hall of Fame-caliber player, maybe the best safety in the NFL, and a big part of the Seahawks’ back-to-back Super Bowl teams under Pete Carroll.

And he won’t be at Seahawks training camp when it starts Thursday.

Entering the last year of a four-year, $40 million deal, Thomas is doing everything in his power to get an extension – with a raise – in place before the 2018 season. The Seahawks, meanwhile, aren’t budging.

Sure, Thomas is a three-time first-team All-Pro. Sure, he’s the last piece of the original Legion of Boom with the Seahawks. Sure, he’s maybe the best safety in the league. But the Seahawks haven’t had success with giving star players third contracts, and that now leaves Thomas the odd man out.

Will Thomas be at training camp on Thursday? Definitely not. Is he going to be traded before the season starts (something he has tried to take into his own hands multiple times)? Probably not. Will he end his holdout at any point in 2018 and put back on a Seahawks uniform? We’ll just have to see how it all plays out.

Salk’s take

“Why is he the second-most intriguing guy on this team? Because he’s a really good player. He’s one of the best safeties in the game, maybe the best, certainly in the conversation, has been for the entirety of his career. … He’s been part of the backbone and spine that has made this team this team. Can they survive without him? Probably not as well as they would survive with him. Can they afford to pay another player a big-time, premier third contract near the top of the pay scale for their position when they’ve been burned by the (contracts of) Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman? None of those guys are here (anymore). Can they afford to pay another guy and continue to put themselves into salary cap jail because of an over-commitment to aging players?

“All of those things have made Earl intriguing, but what has pushed it over the top is the fact that he’s been willing to go nuclear. That he’s been willing to say to other teams ‘Please get me.’ That he’s been willing to now put his house up for sale here in Seattle and say ‘I don’t want to be there. I’m out. I’m not interested in this.’ His desire to play somewhere else has changed some of the conversation and I believe made Earl even that much more intriguing, along with the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for him, as you (O’Neil) have pointed out a few times, too.”

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Danny’s take

“Will the Seahawks miss or make the playoffs dependent on Earl’s absence? Nobody thinks they’re going to be better without him. Is he the difference between them making the playoffs or not? … I don’t think they should pay him. I don’t think they should give him what he wants. I think it stinks that he’s not going to be here to start training camp and it’s really up to him how far he wants to take it. Does he want to cost himself $3-4 million in missing game checks until he ends up coming back and then plays out the string and then leaves? It’s a bummer all around.

“… The team did not survive Kam Chancellor’s absence (when Chancellor held out the first two games of the 2015 season). They were 0-2 and they were a mess when he came back and I think that cast a shadow over that season. Will they be better equipped to survive Earl’s absence? It’s intriguing.”

Previous picks: No. 12, LB Shaquem Griffin. No. 11, WR Tyler Lockett. No. 10, LT Duane Brown. No 9, LB Bobby Wagner. No. 8, S Delano Hill. No. 7, DE Dion Jordan. No. 6, CB Shaquill Griffin. No. 5, RB Chris Carson. No. 4, DE Frank Clark. No. 3, RB Rashaad Penny.