Moore: Seahawks shouldn’t put up with Earl Thomas’ tired act anymore
After watching Earl Thomas make two interceptions in the Seahawks’ win over the Cowboys, you wonder how you could possibly trade him. After listening to him in the locker room, you wonder how you could possibly keep him.
The drama started last year at the Pro Bowl when he first intimated he would hold out if he didn’t get a contract extension. Then he did in fact hold out through training camp and preseason, showing up only because he didn’t want to be fined $500,000 a game. Now this – missing two practices last week because he’s concerned about his health and how it might affect his earnings potential.
The Seahawks should not put up with this tired act anymore. Thomas feels disrespected and talks like he’s one of the lowest-paid players in the league when he’s actually making $8.5 million a year. When he signed his first extension four years ago, he was the NFL’s highest-paid safety.
His locker-room comments following the Seahawks’ 24-13 win over Dallas Sunday were ridiculous.
What he said: “If I feel like I have anything, even if it’s something small, if I got a headache, I’m not practicing.”
What he should have said: “I made a mistake missing two practices last week. I’ve apologized to Pete Carroll and my teammates and it will never happen again.”
What he said: “I just want to be appreciated.”
What he should have said: “Man, I’m lucky to have made more than $50 million as a football player. The Seahawks have been really good to me.”
It’s time for the circus to end. I don’t care how great he is – and in his case, Thomas is Hall of Fame great – you can’t act like he’s acting and get away with it. At this point, I would suspend him for a game and make it a rollover suspension if he misses practice next week. Thomas is an employee, not a boss. He doesn’t call the shots.
I understand that it’s a weird deal – obviously the Seahawks are a better team with Thomas on the field. He already has three interceptions in three games. But off the field? His teammates don’t seem to mind that Thomas is dealing with the business side of the game, and if he misses practices, no big deal. Bradley McDougald was even shouting “Pay the man!” in the locker room Sunday. But what about the culture in the organization? Can you have 52 players who follow the rules and one who doesn’t?
I suppose you can. Marshawn Lynch is proof of that. The Seahawks made exceptions for him. Should they make exceptions for Thomas too? I’d say no mainly because Thomas has been so public with his stance whereas Beast Mode was dealt with privately.
We’ve all seen this in sports over and over again. It’s a sliding scale. When a player is as talented as Thomas, you’ll tolerate almost anything. As the talent declines – which happened with Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman – you cut your losses and move on.
At 29, Thomas is still at the top of his game. That’s not in question. But what about next year when he’s 30, and the years after that? Father Time tells us he won’t be as good. He’ll be more injury-prone. Why would you take a leap of faith that he’ll somehow be worth $14 million a year when the risk factors are too high? If the Seahawks were in a Super Bowl window, I might feel differently, but they’re not. It was nice to see the bounce-back Sunday, but they’re still 1-2 and look like they’re going to be an average team at best this year.
Coaching changes, personnel changes, younger players – it’s a recipe for a transitional year, not one to contend for a Lombardi Trophy. So even if Tedric Thompson gives up some long bombs that Thomas might have batted away, I’d rather see Thomas’ replacement on the field, knowing that this year’s growing pains will help Thompson’s development in a future season when the Seahawks will be Super Bowl contenders again.
For me, the whole Thomas saga brings to mind a Skillet song in which we’re asked to “raise your hand if you’re sick of it.” I’m raising both hands. And if I had three hands, I’d raise them all. Put this in the category of “Enough Already.” It’s time to end this nonsense with a trade of Thomas for whatever you can get, even if it’s not what you consider fair value. It’s reached the point of addition by subtraction.
If you disagree, can you imagine the precedence the Seahawks would set if they give in to Thomas’ contract demands? Future players will see that Thomas’ strategy worked and pull similar shenanigans. That can’t be good for business.
Monday on his weekly radio show with Brock and Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle, Carroll responded to questions about Thomas but it clearly was not his favorite topic.
“Of course we want what’s best for the club; we’re managing it,” Carroll said. “It’s a work in progress.”
Work in progress? It’s time for it all to stop with a trade of Earl Thomas.