Archive for June, 2018

New podcast: Earl Thomas holdout

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Kenny and I discuss the Earl Thomas holdout and offer some thoughts on the Seahawks offense. Check it out below.

I also want to give a special mention to Brad Linn and the whole community here. Brad set up a donation fund in his own time to help repair my laptop (broken during the draft) and sent me the money this week. Thank you to everyone who donated and especially to Brad for setting it up. You guys are incredible.

Some much needed perspective

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

It’s becoming increasingly trendy to roast the Seahawks these days.

I suppose it’s something to talk about. It is June after all.

Here’s the latest offering…

Forget how they built one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, found a franchise quarterback in round three and were a yard away from back-to-back Super Bowl Championships.

Ah, but now they’ve appointed an unpopular former GM as a consultant, so they’ve clearly lost their edge.

Let’s have a bit of perspective. I thought it was worth going back to 2012 to find out what people were saying about Ryan Grigson when he became the Colts GM.

Here’s a section of a piece by ESPN:

Grigson has been listed as a future front-office star after helping to build two Super Bowl teams including the championship-winning Rams in 1999, his first season in the front office.

In 2001, Grigson became an area scout for St. Louis. He joined the Eagles as a regional scout in 2003 and gradually moved up the ladder from regional scout, to director of college scouting and eventually to director of player personnel, the job he had held for the past two seasons.

“He has been a great adviser to me and somebody I have leaned on to bounce ideas off of many times over my career,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said in a statement. “He leaves no stone left unturned in his efforts to find good players and we were lucky to have him here in Philadelphia.”

That’s Howie Roseman, the guy receiving widespread praise for building a Super Bowl winning Eagles roster in two years.

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Some thoughts on the Earl Thomas situation

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Earl Thomas wants to be paid at a time when the safety market is ice cold

There’s no obvious solution. Earl Thomas wants to be paid. The Seahawks are wary of handing out another big contract. They haven’t received any serious trade offers. And the safety market is ice cold.

While social media is currently awash with extreme views on both sides (he should be ashamed vs overly sympathetic), a conclusion isn’t forthcoming.

Why don’t they just pay him?

There’s certainly a case to be made for rewarding Earl Thomas and removing any future drama. Thomas continues to play at a high level and probably is the best safety in the league.

On the other hand, the Seahawks have been here before. Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch and Kam Chancellor were all playing at a high level too. It was a nice gesture to reward all three. But none of those extensions were shown to be wise investments and the Seahawks were left carrying a lot of dead money.

It’s taken a pro-active off-season to rectify the cap problem. You can forgive the Seahawks for not rushing head first into another third contract for a player.

In the next 8-12 months they have some big decisions to make. Do they pay Frank Clark? Duane Brown? Tyler Lockett? K.J. Wright? Do they make Russell Wilson the highest paid player in the league? This is a lot to consider. If they pay Thomas today, Clark is knocking on John Schneider’s door tomorrow. Others will too. And they’ll know the threat of absence has worked.

How does the safety market play into this?

Currently it’s an ice cold market. Thomas couldn’t have picked a worse time to try and become the highest paid safety in the league. Eric Reid isn’t the only unemployed safety. Kenny Vaccaro doesn’t have a contract either.

Thomas is clearly on a different level in terms of talent — but teams are not rushing to invest in safeties. Not at the moment.

We’ve seen this happen at other positions before. The running back market has dried up completely. We might be witnessing a similar occurrence at safety.

The fact nobody has made a big trade offer is perhaps indicative of the changing financial landscape. Why were Dallas the only team seemingly interested in trading for him? Why did they only offer a third round pick? Why didn’t another team offer more?

They knew it wasn’t just a draft pick at stake. It was a massive new contract too. One they were unwilling to pay.

If that’s the case, how is Thomas going to get paid?

It’s not abundantly clear if any team is actually prepared to match his demands. It’s possible nobody is.

If that’s the case, what motivation is there for the Seahawks to pay him more than $13m a year?

If Thomas feels disrespected by that thought, he need only remind himself that the Seahawks did make him the highest paid safety in the NFL when he signed his last contract. The Seahawks, on that occasion, recognised his talent and rewarded him.

Can they really be blamed now for not handing out another mega-deal when the safety position isn’t generating big money and teams aren’t rushing to acquire Thomas and pay him?

How else will the team be approaching this?

Presumably they anticipated Thomas’ decision. It’s not surprising. They’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this.

There will be one irksome factor. They’ve actively worked to avoid any distractions this year. They’ve undertaken a reset, a fresh start. The Thomas saga carries at least some potential to clash with this approach. Will it impact players close to Thomas? How will the handling of this situation impact future negotiations with the likes of Clark and Brown?

Will Thomas hold out during the regular season? Will he play under his existing contract? If so, are the Seahawks destined to watch him walk away in free agency? Will the potential use of the franchise tag create even more conflict?

There’s much to consider.

What was the plan then?

They at least appeared to entertain the possibility of dealing Thomas pre and during the draft. The 2018 third rounder, reportedly offered by Dallas, might seem more attractive the longer this drags on. Especially if the saga continues into the season and becomes an unwelcome distraction.

You can forgive the Seahawks for not wanting to give away such a fine player though. It’s easy to be sympathetic with their situation. They likely wanted a fair trade offer for a future Hall-of-Famer. They spent a second and third rounder on Duane Brown. He’s four years older than Thomas.

Can they trade him now?

If they try to they’ll be playing with a weak hand. Teams are aware they could lose him for nothing in 2019 (and as we discovered with Jimmy Graham, a compensatory pick isn’t assured). They run the risk of having the situation become a distraction. It’s unlikely anyone is going to pony up a big trade offer at this point.

If trading him is the preferred option now (and it might be) the best case might be to hope a team becomes more aggressive closer to the season. Seattle paid a second rounder for Sheldon Richardson right before the start of the 2017 season. If a team like Dallas sees Thomas as the man to push them over the top — they might bite. So far, they’ve resisted.

It’s also entirely possible teams will look at the poor value Seattle received from the Richardson trade and think, ‘we’re not making that mistake‘.

Is there no solution at all?

I can think of only one. A compromise. Thomas accepts he won’t top Eric Berry’s salary and it won’t be a long term deal. The Seahawks increase Thomas’ pay but do so for the 2018 and 2019 season with an option for 2020.

It’s hard to imagine Thomas agreeing to those terms. He wants long term security. But if teams aren’t willing to offer a 4-5 year contract at mega-money, is such a contract his best bet? And does it protect the Seahawks against a repeat of the Chancellor, Lynch and Bennett extensions?

Someone has to compromise. Whether it’s Thomas, the Seahawks or a team willing to make a trade. Personally, I think it’s unrealistic to think the only ones who should cede any leverage are the Seahawks.

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