Earl Thomas is holding out of mandatory camps in a mission to force the Seahawks front office to come to the negotiation table to sign an extension. In an attempt to gain support from Seahawks fans, Thomas wrote a passionate response stating how he loved being with the team, that his performance record shows he has earned the extension, and so forth. He iterates that this is business and he would like to know his contractual future. This is understandable considering that the athlete is a prime piece of the Seahawks defense. However, an extension at this time does not benefit the Seahawks.
The Seahawks had just released two stars on their defense, Michael Bennett, and Richard Sherman. Both have been given a contract extension, and both see themselves off the team from this point forward. The argument as to why is their outspoken lack of respect for leadership is what caused them to be released. However, Both did come with a high price tag. Sherman’s current value is at $10.3 million whereas Bennett averages at $10.1 million. The Seahawks are also paying dead cap to Bennett for the 2018 season at $5.2. With Russell Wilson having a cap hit at $23.7 million, it makes sense that Seattle would release or trade the players to improve their cap management.
Thomas also comes with his unique concerns of salary. Currently, Thomas the 4th highest paid safety, 104th in the league, and 4th highest player in Seattle. With Eric Berry raking in $13 million, Thomas can easily argue that he should be paid at least $13.5 million if not more. Combine that with Bobby Wagner’s extension Thomas’ agent may argue that he should earn $14 million a year. Seattle is finding themselves in a bit of a bind with high profile contracts coming close to an end within the next two years, it makes logical sense that Thomas’ contract on pause.
Thomas also hasn’t proven that he is worth a substantial increase in salary. General Managers do praise their players in their skillset and do recognize his abilities to play center-field and manage the defense. However, Thomas has started to show his mortality and has struggled to complete a season since 2015. While this should not have an effect on the salary of a player, it still has an impact on the team and their potential record. When Richard Sherman ended the season 9 games in, Seattle did well to compensate for the loss. However, when Thomas has been out, opposing quarterback QBR has increased substantially. With Thomas entering his 9th season in the NFL and having two consecutive incomplete seasons may put a snag in his salary requests. The Seahawks are smart to take their time to investigate his value and longevity with the team if he is expected to stay.
Another strong case for Seattle to not come to the table is Thomas’ hunt for Jason Garrett after the Seahawks 21-12 victory. Thomas was recorded telling Garrett to “come get me”. Thomas argued that he wanted to stay a Seahawk as long as possible, but if his time comes, then he wants his backyard team to sign him. This wouldn’t rub fans or staff the wrong way as Marshawn Lynch has come out of retirement to play for his childhood team the Oakland Raiders. However, after a hard fought game, it did put Thomas’ allegiance to the team and priorities in a different light. Seattle had been rumored to be shopping Thomas for draft picks including with the Dallas Cowboys. However, Thomas still remains with the team.
It is understandable for fans and teammates to back Earl Thomas in his plight for a new contract. However, in a business with a high turnover rate of players, the Seahawks need to set a precedent that contract extensions do not happen on a whim and that holding out will not be tolerated. The Seahawks have been burned on a few of their contract extensions. With the Seahawks in a rebuilding process to reclaim their former glory, expect Thomas’ time in blue and green very limited.