By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
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.
This offseason there were a lot of changes within the veterans on the roster in Seattle. I won’t give you a full breakdown because it seems that is all the media could talk about this year. The biggest question that stood going up to the draft, mostly fueled by chattering Dallas Cowboy fans and media, was would Seattle trade Earl Thomas? Once the first and second rounds of the draft were complete, it seemed that question had been answered. There was no trade.
With Thomas supposedly staying in Seattle, his contract has become the newest, most popular subject. Thomas said earlier in the year that he would consider a holdout if he didn’t get a contract extension. His teammates said they didn’t think he would actually do it. But with him not showing up for voluntary OTAs this week, the holdout question has come back up.
Now I would like to repeat one word to you. Voluntary. As in not required. By no means is Thomas the only vet staying away from this set of team activities. Veterans from all over the league are keeping the last few weeks of their summer vacation to themselves and staying home.
However, this makes me nervous.
— Kole Musgrove (@kole_musgrove) May 22, 2018
Most Seattle fans know that Thomas is an emotional guy. It is one of the reasons he is so good on the field, he takes everything personally. The fact that Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner felt the need to remind Thomas how much he was wanted on the team makes me wonder if Thomas has some hard feelings against the team and front office. However, it could just be Bobby being Bobby and letting his friend know that he misses him. Unless they do a 30 for 30 on Thomas, we may never know.
Thomas will be 30 years old in 2019 and could become an unrestricted free agent. Fans are split between keep him/pay him, and trade him now while he still has value, however, the majority seem to be in the first camp. His salary this season matches what he was paid last season, his cap hit being $10,400,00.00, with many believing he is underpaid. We have no idea what Thomas could be looking for in a new contract, but it is safe to assume he would become one of, if not the highest, paid players at his position.
The question now is, can Seattle afford it? They have a lot of contracts coming due soon, including a new contract in 2019 for quarterback Russell Wilson which will put a huge dent in the wallet. It would be smart to find a way to keep Thomas, who is still playing at an insanely high level, and work the budget in other places and positions. And most importantly, DON’T LET HIM TEST THE MARKET! We’ve seen how that turns out, and it’s never pretty for Seattle.
Getting younger and staying competitive is the best way to build a football team and is Seattle’s mantra, yet there are some players that can’t be replaced. Earl Thomas is one of those players.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG