Let me just say straight from the start, any questions that surround Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas have nothing to do with him as a player. He is, without question, a once in a generation safety. The only questions around Thomas have to do with his contract and his team.
With that out of the way…
I am a firm believer that once you have a player that absolutely dominates in his position within the NFL, you hold on to him. When a player has the term “Future Hall of Famer” attached to him, you keep him. You pay him. Of course, every player starts to decline at some point, but until that point (or even just slightly past), you keep him on your roster. In this reporter’s opinion, this is the case with Earl Thomas.
There’s no way around it. The Los Angeles Rams have gone all in to win this year. Making huge additions to their team, additions that will probably only be around for a year or two, the former St. Louis team has decided its time, right now, to win.
Understandably, this has made Seattle Seahawks fans nervous. Add to that the fact the famed Legion of Boom (as fans knew it) has disbanded, there’s not enough Xanax in the world to help the 12th man make it through until preseason.
However, should there be panic in Seattle? Have fans focused too much on who has left, instead of seeing who is still here?
(One of the great things about working for Our Turf football is we don’t require writers to turn off their emotion when writing. We ask them to be objective, fair, and respectful, yet we never ask them to stop loving their team. Today I’m writing purely from a fan’s point of view. Indulge me, if you will. -DO)
In the mind, it makes sense.
Logically, one can see why the Seattle Seahawks needed to let veteran, Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman test free agency. The Seahawks were desperately needing some cap space. Sherman, now 30 years old, is coming off two Achilles tendon surgeries. My mind gets it. My heart, however…
It has been several weeks since the Seahawks have made any news. At that time, the notable changes came by way of coaching personnel, but since then it has been quiet.
After this season was over, there was a lot of questions about key player decisions. Looking at the needs of the roster and the amount of cap room ($14,123,861 per overthecap.com), clearing up some cap space is needed. But where will it come from?
One of the options, strong safety Kam Chancellor’s future with the team, was answered already. The Seahawks allowed the Feb 9th roster deadline to come and go thereby guaranteeing his contract extension for 2018. The 3-year extension was signed in August 2017 before the regular season began. It included an injury clause that guaranteed his base salary.
Unless he chooses to retire, which it seems he plans to play, the Seahawks will have to pay his base salary of $5.2 million which will go against the cap space. At the time it was signed many critics thought it would hamstring the organization. In hindsight, that may have occurred.
The Seattle Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time in 5 years. The team was riddled with injuries, but other problems were very evident. Fans had been screaming for changes in the coaching staff, and today, those fans got their wish.
The Seahawks lost 3 Pro Bowl players on defense to injuries this year. Cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor, and defensive end Cliff Avril were lost for the season leaving a large hole in the normally stout defense. Surprisingly, the defense wasn’t the problem for a team that struggled more this season than in years past. The real problem seemed to be found in the offense.
Over a week has passed since the end of the Seattle Seahawks 2017 season. To say that this year has been tumultuous would not even raise an eyebrow in Seattle. The Seahawks were making news, whether it was good, bad, polarizing, thought-provoking, and outrageous, off or on the field.
But that it wasn’t any different than any other year under head coach Pete Carroll. So why did this season end in disappointment? Not the sudden devastation of losing a playoff game, but a slow death-rattle-like loss of identity. As the season progressed, we kept waiting; waiting for something to turn, something to change. When the season ended, it looked like nothing changed.
Last January, after they were eliminated from the playoffs, the main concerns were the offensive line and the running game. But the kicking game became surprisingly unpredictable too.
Seahawks went to fix the concerns that followed them into the off-season by signing kicker Blair Walsh. They continued to acquire free agents like running back Eddie Lacy. Before the regular season began Seahawks traded wide receiver Jermaine Kearse to New York Jets for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
Right before kickoff I quickly listed a few things that I hoped the Seahawks would give to all their fans for Christmas. My list included:
1. Stop the run.
2. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham with quality and successful targets.
3. A clean game for guard Germain Ifedi.
4. A run game of our own.
5. A touchdown on our first offensive possession.
With the Seattle Seahawks bogged down in injuries, fans were concerned about today’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
As of halftime today, 12’s have to come to the conclusion that there is no more home-field advantage when the majority of the Seahawks All-Pro players are on injured reserve or out of the game. After the disastrous ending of last week’s game, the concern centered on the defense.
With both linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright leaving the game with injuries, the conversation was whether either one or both would be able to play. Earlier in the week, there was the threat of suspensions on defensive ends Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson and defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson. Although Seattle lost Wright for the game having not cleared concussion protocol, everyone else was available for the game. On the offensive side, everyone was relatively healthy.
This is arguably the most complete game that the Seahawks have played this year. From the opening drive, the game seemed to go in favor of the Seahawks. The offense was led by quarterback Russell Wilson who once again turned into a wizard. He was scrambling his way out of would-be sacks and finding receivers like tight end Jimmy Graham for the 9th time in 8 games.
All week, I was anxious about this game. I knew it would be tough to play against Seattle in Seattle. I just figured it would be more competitive, or at the very least a fun game to watch. As frustrating as it was, though, I’m okay with this loss. Eagles needed to face a playoff caliber team; a team who was desperate for a win, in order to get experience in that type of environment.