Some thoughts on the Earl Thomas situation

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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  1. Ty the Guy

    Couldn’t agree more, Rob. Someone will need to compromise for this to have a favorable ending for both parties. I personally, don’t see another team trading for Earl before the season starts…. not when he is set to hit free agency next year. So unless something crazy happens, I think it’s between Earl and the Hawks.

    Earl seems to be a man of conviction. I feel like he would have the fortitude to hold out well into the season. That puts the pressure on the young guys. Whether it be Delano Hill pushing McDoubald to FS or Tedric Thompson jumping into the spot. Neither will be able to fill Earl’s role, but it would be an opportunity for them to show that maybe the Hawks D can survive without the best center-fielding safety to ever play Cover 1 and Cover 3.

    I think the solution is for Earl to come down on price and years. The Seahawks to give Earl a third contract, despite their past failed investments. But if either isn’t willing to compromise, then there is no choice but to find out who we are without Earl Thomas. It’s past the time for a dump off trade. I don’t want to hear the argument a 3rd rounder is better than nothing. Not for Earl.

    Pay the man. Show up to work, Mr. Thomas. Let’s get back in those playoffs!

    $12 mil/yr, 2 years with a player option for 3rd year (do they do player options in NFL?)

  2. Nick

    A level-headed take here, Rob. It’s hard to stomach, but the NFL is a business and I do not blame Earl for trying to get his.

    However, what a terrible way to start a “fresh” season. This is exactly what they didn’t want and now they’ve got it until Week 1. Now training camp is going to be all about where is Earl. Hopefully, Pete can get the young guys (especially on D) to crowd out the noise and focus. But that’s a tough ask–considering that the fulcrum of this D is Earl.

    I for one am hopeful that Delano Hill can solidify the SS spot as his. In college he was a spectacular tackler and last year he was a key special teams contributor. Perhaps his emergence will dull the pain of missing Earl.

    But I think this has the potential to be Kam 2.0. The Seahawks are not going to budge. Earl has no leverage. Hopefully, we don’t fall into a 0-2 hole like we did with Kam. In the end, I’m just upset that this new stage is starting off this way. I really want to get back to playing smash-mouth football and ignoring the BS.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t have any ill-feeling to Earl for his move but I think it’s a fruitless exercise. If it merely lasts until training camp then I get it. The moment he starts costing himself money, hinders the team and makes absolutely no progress on an extension — that’s when it’ll baffled me. Kam Chancellor didn’t achieve anything with his hold out. I hope Earl doesn’t go through the same process.

      And while he might want big money, there’s seemingly no rush for teams trying to trade for him for the opportunity to pay him. So if there isn’t a market for a mega extension, why would the Seahawks deliver a mega extension?

      He’s a free agent soon. Nothing will promote his earning potential in 2019 more than a healthy, productive final year in Seattle.

      • hawkdawg

        Actually, if the Seahawks so choose it can start “costing him money” this week, when he doesn’t show up for mini-camp. Maximum fine of $84 grand, as I understand it. Of course, that pales in comparison to a game check at his salary….

  3. Coleslaw

    I really dont want them to cave and strengthen the precedent that holding out works. But I’d be okay with just extending him 1 more year, $12M guaranteed. change nothing else in the contract.

  4. CharlieTheUnicorn

    Earl Thomas is The Man.

    The points brought up about future contracts is where the real rub is for everyone involved.
    RW probably going to get around 30 – 32M… 10M+ for Richardson… 10M+ for D Brown….

    I know this is not in the players best interest, but if RW somehow could do a Tom Brady… and take a little less, so the Seahawks could continue to build or retain players around him… would help the team out tremendously. I’m not saying he should, just that he could…

    Something doesn’t smell right about the top safeties not being paid top dollar as FA. A pass happy league… should value quality safety play more than in years pass. Things just do not add up.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it does add up, personally. As much as we would all acknowledge Earl’s importance in Seattle and the great career he’s had, plenty of other teams simply get by at safety. Even in the modern NFL.

      • H

        One thing Brett Kollman recently pointed out is that the Eagles are one of the few teams to spend more on safety than corner because the position is harder to fill for their scheme (i think they play almost exclusively man coverage so they can just look for sticky man cover corners in the draft).

        This is true of our scheme as well, is it not. Pete can find long press corners anywhere in the draft that can be coached up, but that rangy free saftey is a lot more elusive, hence they spent a first on Earl but have never done so for a corner.
        This fact makes me feel like we shouldnt be following the rest of the league by getting by at safety. We should follow the eagles lead and pay Earl.

        • Rob Staton

          It’s certainly true that Seattle’s defense and the people running it has enabled them to draft and develop later round cornerbacks. I think it remains undetermined whether they truly rely on the safety position though. It’d be easy to make that connection because of Earl. Yet the Seahawks didn’t bank on getting Earl in 2010. They waited until pick #14 and thought the Eagles had traded up to get him. If they don’t have Earl, we probably have a very different view on the positional value here.

          If they trade him and start McDougald and Hill, we’ll also see the position differently.

          I’m starting to wonder if, in Pete’s eyes, he thinks he can develop all secondary players. And that perhaps he thinks the main components of his defense are the defensive linemen and his middle linebacker.

          • FresnoHawk

            Rob you nailed it! ET has always been a luxury in PC defense and if we had-have to choose unfortunately this has to happen and the whole NFL knows it.

            • Rob Staton

              I wouldn’t say he’s a luxury. I just question if free safety is quite as vital as we’ve assumed to this point.

          • Gohawks5151

            Earl is an all world talent. He would elevate any team. That’s what he has done for so long. Take a great D to an all time D. Honestly Pete, like any good coach tailored his D towards his personnel. He had a instintuca,l speed demon and a technical, war hammer for safeties. Other defenses function like they do because of their personnel as well. McDougald wasn’t asked to do all the things Kam was last year. The next FS won’t either, though I hope Earl is around a few years longer.

  5. Aaron

    If the Hawks want a reset, and all indications are they do, then the solution is simple. Either trade him now or let him hold out and trade him when he returns. It’s time to move on, reset, and get rid of all distractions. That being said, if nobody wants to trade for him then the nuclear option of cutting him has to be the second option. Should have dealt him before the draft ended. Sherm is gone, Kam is done, and Earl should be done with us too. The LOB is dead.

    • Hawktalker#1

      The LOB is dead. Long live the LOB. Cheers.

      • Thy Hawk is Howling

        Nice #1, Long Live the LOB!

    • BleedBlueBrad

      Aaron I hear where you’re coming from however if Kam is cleared to play, it’s a big if but possible, then the LOB isn’t dead. Maxwell, ET and Kam with Shaq Griffin could keep our defense in contention. Even McDougald and ET can maintain the defense. We beat the SB champs and Dallas without our defense intact and that shows we are better than the pundits think. Pay Earl, he can lead the new guys in the secondary and keep our D tough and dangerous. He can easily play into his early to mid thirties so a compromise is necessary. Offer 3 years at 13 million a year with incentives, if he gets hurt the Hawks can release him, if not he can keep our secondary relevant into the playoffs.

  6. Robertlasvegas

    I saw the seahawks signed Joshua Perry I remember when he was at Ohio state he was pretty intense

  7. Sean-O

    I think we can all agree that Earl is a pretty emotional guy (tweeting from the locker room about retirement right after getting hurt) & does care about what others think in regards to his status. He’s gone out of his way to tell the 12’s how he feels.

    I hope there is a compromise to make him one of the top two or three highest paid safeties without hamstringing the team for the near future.

    What dollar number is that & for how many years? I have no idea. I just hope he’s on the lifetime Hawks that realizes maybe the grass isn’t always greener…

  8. kevin mullen

    First off: Sheldon Richardson should have been a long term Seahawk this past offseason. With the investment made just to acquire him, there should have been a contract offered that matched the talent, especially what Minnesota is paying him now.

    That said, I’d be more than happy trading Earl had we worked some sort of long term contract with Sheldon. I mean, he was our “poor man’s Aaron Donald” which aren’t many in the NFL. Getting Richardson secured may have eased the blow of letting Earl go for a 3rd rounder.

    Lastly, I recall in an interview or article which Earl admitted back in 2012 or 2013 that Kam was the person who helped set Earl up for the play, meaning (to me) that Kam was the true coverage captain for the DB’s on play recognitions. Which really solidify the belief that Earl may be more product of the system than he is the best safety of the league. (Though I admit, athletically, Earl is the shit).

    I just hope that we don’t lose Earl for nothing like we did Sherm, Graham, Sheldon Richardson, Bennett, Avril, Paul Richardson. These were all significant starters for us last year, some serious lost talent right there.

    • Hawktalker#1

      Can’t we just say poop? 😉

    • FresnoHawk

      Richardson was a mistake. The dude is crazy And thats why they didnt resign himKeeping score we’ve made horrible FA signings while aquiring compensation picks, this summer we find out if that strategy works for us. It’s not looking good at the moment plus we abandoned that strategy this year. All it takes is a Super Bowl contender needing a FS over the next 3 months and well get what we want. It’s all smoking mirrors let say Eric Berry never gets hurt and Chiefs won SuperBowl I guarantee you teams would be offering up 1st RD picks for ET but no like everything else that’s gone wrong for us EB goes down and the result is owners are scared to pay ET. That’s why they call it a “copy cat” league. ET is most likely baffled at what’s going on but I’m brainwashed too cause I’m afraid his small body won’t hold up so if they trade him I won’t have to worry bout that anymore.

    • hawkdawg

      Minnesota is paying him on a one-year deal. Not what he wanted, but more than the Hawks would do…

    • hawkdawg

      Minnesota is paying Richardson on a one-year deal, not at all what he was looking for–but more than the Hawks were willing to pay…

    • lil'stink

      We signed Richardson because PCJS new there was likely to be some re-tooling after the 2017 season and decided to go all in for a SB run last year. It obviously didn’t work out. In all honesty I’m not sure PCJS had any intention of trying to extend SR.

  9. Troy

    Constantly amazed by your ability to have intelligent/level headed takes on all things Hawks Rob, kudos.

    It is my personal belief that Earl just wants out, period (unless Hawks make him #1 paid safety). Look no further than the Dallas stunt to see how he really feels. Earl has had a great career but his heart has always been in Texas, if you see how active he still is there, it makes sense. The Hawks will simply not pay an aging star who relies on his speed top of the market, it would be the type of contract that bad teams pony up. Hopefully we do not become that bad team.

    What is his best option to go to Dallas? By holding out. This forces action on the Seahawks, unless they are content to have him be a huge distraction, and have him miss 6-10 or however many games and only play the required amount of games to accrue an NFL season.

    Earl no matter what has to play the minimum amount of games so that his contract will run out, but he knows he can be a huge pain in the side of the FO if he holds out, ala Kam.

    The biggest thing I think he will struggle with though is simply not playing…Earl is made for football, all his life is about football, and him sitting (healthy) watching the games will tear him up. He has an iron will but he will absolutely be gutted if he loses not only game checks but also play time this year. Interesting scenario anyway, but too bad since i was hoping for a drama free offseason.

    • superzaif

      By holding out he loses game checks and credibility. Even Dallas wouldn’t want him going into age 30 coming off a hold out year.

      I think everyone knows the score. As Rob pointed out, this doesn’t end well for anyone if Thomas holds out into training camp.

  10. j hawk

    Let ET sit out the -no 8.5 million. Move on. See how his career progresses for a 30 year old who by then hasn’t played for a year. He should not hold “his team” hostage. He is wanting big money he won’t get from any team. If I were him I would play my best this year then hit FA.

    • RealRhino2

      Agree with this. I fail to understand how anybody could be sympathetic to Earl’s position. I know we are supposed to be balanced here, but he signed a contract that already anticipated him playing like one of the best — if not the best — players at his position. He’s still under that contract. Anything you do to reward this kind of irrational bargaining sets a bad precedent.

      • FresnoHawk

        I don’t know about that! If we wanna trade him why would we want him practicing? Things could be so much worse if ET got hurt in practice. Also why would Hawks extend Earl before they determine if Kam can play?

  11. Robertlasvegas

    I see where the seahawks signed Joshua Perry today I remember him at Ohio state I just remember he was pretty intense. I am not sure he has the speed but he made a ton of tackle’s at Ohio state.

  12. Sea Mode

    Yeah, I think at this point it is pretty clear to all parties that a compromise is in everyone’s best interest. But for now, they are both just playing the leverage game until push comes to shove.

    While it’s obvious that Earl talent and work ethic are respected and admired by teammates, I don’t think he has the kind of hold on them that Kam has/had, especially on all the new guys that haven’t even seen him in the facility yet.

    I think on the Hawks’ part, they will have to bend and make him the highest paid ($13m/apy) even in a cold market (respect factor here as well). On Earl’s part, he will have to take less years: maybe a 2yr extension instead of 4yr.

    • JimQ

      If ET is currently making 8.5 million a year, why not give him a 3-4 year contract that goes up about 1 to 1.5 million each year. At the end of the 3rd year on this contract his pay would be 11.5 to 13 million and at the end of a 4-th year 12.5 million to 14.5 million. The extra millions added each year would be more than made up for by the annual increases in team cap numbers. This type of contract is dependent on a couple of major factors, do they really want ET back and how much guaranteed money that ET will expect and accept in such a deal.

      IMO, It’s difficult to give a player a contract based on previous accomplishments, however, in the case of ET, he may be an exception to the normal procedure. It’s not like ET has underperformed on his contracts so far in his career, the only real concerns revolve around his age and injury history. Contracts need to be struck for players future value more so than their past performance and in that regard, it’s reasonable to expect that ET has already played his best football and like all players, age generally means they aren’t as effective at their jobs anymore, that’s when they retire or get cut. I do think that ET has a couple of good years left before a noticeable decline and potentially future health issues catch up to him.

  13. Sea Mode

    On a side note: I was glad to see in the last thread that the recent problems with the site were not just problems with my browser, as I had first thought.

    Excited to see what you have been cooking up, Rob!

  14. calgaryhawk

    I see no downside for the club at this time. Earl Thomas is a great safety, he is one of only a few players that could go to ANY team and make it better. That said, Walter Jones missed a few preseasons and all he did was come in and continue to dominate. I think ET could do the same. The team is really in the driver’s seat here.I doubt ET will miss any regular season game time and even if he gets Franchised next year, his contract would still be under $13 mil. So the reality is the club has 2 seasons to decide the value of a Safety of Thomas’ stature.
    On a positive side, Earl is kinda saying ” I want to play of Seattle for several more years”. Take that Dallas!!!

    • vrtkolman

      There is a downside. Once again, the team is entering the season with another distraction.

    • vrtkolman

      There is a downside, yet another season beginning with a distraction. This annoys me quite a bit actually. The team spent the entire off season moving away from scenarios like this, but here it is back like a fungus.

    • Del tre

      Exactly, if we want Tre Flowers starting at RCB we are going to want Earl cleaning up his rookie mistakes.
      I doubt any of our 3 safeties currently on the roster will be able to do that. Thompson might, but McDougold will still be running towards the play most of the time, and Hill is a in the box strong safety unless he has really improved his coverage. Sometimes you just have to take the medicine.
      That being said i think the name of the game this year is speed. The Seahawks were SLOW last season, so many plays we had to watch Wilhoite run behind someone while Bobby chases them down, i mean heck gang tackling is pretty much absent from this defense, while great at his job Sherman really wasn’t sprinting to the middle of the field to make tackles, adding in guys like Flowers and Shaquem should really help us. Losing ET would slow down the D and leave them searching for a free safety, just pay him and be done with it, he was the key to the Hawks superbowl, he deserves to finish it out in seattle. Safeties can have long careers so him playing at an elite level until 33 isn’t too unrealistic.

  15. Sean-O

    ” I want to play of Seattle for several more years”. I think that kind of speak from players is to cover their own ass. That way if he does extend he can say, “I’m glad I’m here” or if the team decides to move on he can say “I didn’t want to leave”.

    I love ET3 as a player & look forward to seeing him in the ROH & maybe HOF? some day but I think it’s clear he’s looking to get paid as much as he can by someone. Not necessarily Seattle.

    • Rob Staton

      For sure. He knows it’s his last big earning opportunity and he’s made that his priority over anything else. Pure and simple.

  16. neil

    Is their anyone here that doesn’t think 13 mil isn’t BIG MONEY ?

  17. joe sands

    The other factor at play here is the upcoming new CBA. Schneider may want to understand the new rules before signing the biggest deals i.e. Wilson Thomas Wagner Clark. Both Thomas and Clark are due before the CBA, and only one can be tagged as far as I know. Seattle rarely uses the tag but may want to on either of these two guys to await the new CBA. Earl’s tag would be alot cheaper than Clark’s, so maybe they offer to tag him next year, and then work out a deal under the new constraints — almost certain to be more player-friendly. Pay Clark bc he’s so young still, alot less risky.

  18. bigten

    How about we make a statement and pony up a 7th for the Miss St safety or the VT safety in the supplement draft? They are athletic freaks apparently. Of course they are not going to be anything like Earl, or even make an impact outside ST. Buttttttttttt, could it show ETIII, “Fine, hold out, we will pick up these guys for cheap and look to replace”

  19. Madmark

    This is just bad timing all the way around for Earl Thomas. The market for a FS with his talent is basically paying what he makes already, 10 million a year. If he holds out there will be no negotiation for an extension and if he holds out to long such as 6 games I believe he won’t see the field unless there’s an injury. After the year ends they won’t franchise him but will let him walk and then he can try and get that big contract he’s looking for from someone else a year latter and older.
    I think this is what’s going to happen it may not be 6 games but it won’t matter if its 1 or 2 he’ll be let go next year.

  20. 503Hawk

    Okay, everybody feel free to mock me…
    “I really don’t care!”
    Both true and false. Of course I care, but I’m tired of all this. I personally have decided to not even talk about it because what I think and want wont affect the situation.
    Also, I’m falling in love (“band wagoner”) with the Mariners. I hate watching baseball, but the M’s have the chemistry that the Hawks don’t. They are really fun to follow.
    There, put that in your pipe and smoke it ET3. 🙂


    I, too, have no hard feeling toward Earl. Before the incident in the Dallas locker room I would’ve thought — without a doubt — that he deserves to know where he stands with the organization moving into this new phase. He knows first hand what kind of toll this game can take on a body — another broken leg and he may never play again. It’s a big decision. I don’t blame guys for playing the hand they’re dealt. A contract is a contract, yet he is within his rights to do what he’s doing, as is the team when they cut a player with years left on a deal.

    I completely agree, Rob, that it will be a fruitless endeavor. And that’s the biggest criticism I have. It’s going to hurt everyone, and help no one. It’s going to get rather messy, too. I sincerely hope this doesn’t impact the relationship a decade from now when we’re inducting all these guys into the Ring of Honor. But as I see it the Seahawks have zero incentive to capitulate. For one, they are trying to reestablish a team-first culture with this new generation. Frankly, regardless of how great a teammate Earl has been in the past (I think he was 100% committed, though he was never team captain, which I find interesting), the incident in Dallas shows that he is far from “all-in” now. I think the imminent reboot was too much for Earl to stomach. That was a BS move, and I think it cost him some cache with Pete. Similar to the thoughts on giving 3rd contracts, Pete is currently obsessed (and rightly so) with the present. He needs to be shown who you are and what you want to be for this team — from everybody. He wants to see hunger. He wants to see people taking opportunities and never letting them go.

    Well, we’ve heard this before — Pete would say that Earl “Left the door open,” for somebody else here. Forget that somebody else is not as good as ET. Pete believes in his philosophy, and I do think he’d rather have a bunch of hungry misfits, than a few entitled superstars. That’s what’s been missing from this team lately.

    I also think that Pete sees this as a moment of truth for his legacy — is he an all-time great coach? Or did he just get lucky with all-time great players? Pete believes he is the X-factor, and he wants to show he can do it all again.

    I think if Earl took the “opportunity” in front of him, played his heart out in 2018, that he would be extended a market-value offer from this team. But this team is not thinking about the past right now, you have to be here and show it, today, tomorrow, and the next day.

    If Earl holds out into the season, I honestly think it’s in the team’s best interest to bench him. You can’t argue that it’s vindictive, because somebody else has been earning playing time in the here-and-now while he wasn’t. Let him earn his snaps like everybody else. I think that’s what this team is built on. Has somebody been out-working you? Then you need to work harder.

    Again, I love Earl, but from a team perspective, I don’t think this is a championship year, if the relationship is tarnished we can’t count on Earl going forward, and we need to see what Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson can do. It really doesn’t help us at all for Earl to take snaps from them (when they’ve been here battling to earn them) when he’s not invested in the present or future of this team.

    • FresnoHawk

      Tedric looked really good on special teams last year. The only legitimate knock on Tedric in the draft was his speed, how is it when he was on the field last year he looked like the fastest guy on the field including being first to the ball? He didn’t play much so I guess on those plays that Tedric was on the field the other 21 players decided to go half ass.

      • Sea Mode

        His play recognition and anticipation can get him to the ball first, not outright speed.

      • Gohawks5151

        Plus according to Pete Tedric and Hill are both Strong safeties. I’m sure he could slide over but Mcdougald is really the only backup at free.

        • LLLOGOSSS

          That really perplexes me. Delano was absolutely a box safety in college, but I could’ve sworn Thompson was a single-high type. He doesn’t strike me as being exceedingly physical, either. It also makes me question the use of relatively high back-to-back picks on the same position.

          I want to say that something might’ve been lost in translation on those quotes. I’ve seen them too, and it just doesn’t make much sense to me.

  22. lil'stink

    I’d be ok extending Earl for 3 more years to make him the highest paid safety in the league. Say… 3years, $40 million total. But the guaranteed money would have to be manageable and there couldn’t be any in years 2 and 3, something that Earl probably wouldn’t agree to. But it does give him the “respect” of being the highest paid player in the league at his position.

    Of course, at this point, I’d also be ok with trading Earl. I’m not concerned about him holding out of games at this point, but if he holds out of camp it does become a big distraction. And it sends a huge message of the wrong kind to Frank Clark if ET3 can just skip all of camp and then start at FS come week 1 of the regular season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team tries to extend Clark before they do anything with Earl. IIRC Wilson and Wagner both got their 2nd contracts right around the start or first week of training camp so I hope that’s what happens with Clark.

    I really wonder what PCJS’s plan is at this point. Whatever it is it isn’t apparent to me. There seems like a legitimate chance that we let an invaluable HOF player walk for nothing. Remember how many of us thought that losing Graham and the two Richardson’s would at least get us some nice comp picks? As it stands now we are going to get nothing in return for losing those 3 guys. The same could happen with Earl.

    Side note – Justin Reid wasn’t high on my wishlist for this past draft, but watching him slide as far as he did kind of hurts now with all the uncertainty about Earl. I can’t help but wonder if we couldn’t have packaged Earl in a deal that would have allowed us to get Reid plus something else.

    • Greg Haugsven

      I completely agree. No guarantees after this year.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I would think that long term injury guarantees are what he wants the most.

  23. Edgar

    Instead of a 3rd round pick, I’d like to see them look into a player for player trade. How about talking to Atlanta and see where they are on Julio Jones? Schneider should get creative and think outside the box here because one option that I don’t want to see is a in season holdout/return that’s just divisive leading to a release or a ‘comp pick watch’ next offseason.


      Not a chance on Julio. For one, reports are that everything is copacetic and that both sides want him there until the end.

      For two, unlike the market for Safeties, the market for All-World WR’s is not shy — it would take at least two 1st’s at this stage to get Julio, in my opinion.

    • Rob Staton

      The Falcons are not going to trade Julio for Earl. I wish they would — but they won’t.

      • Sean-O

        Certainly not Julio but maybe there is something there value wise if they go player for player. I have no idea about what’s out there on what team but maybe ET3 for some young, under team control OLB or DE.

        Might be nice to have some quality insurance if KJ, Clark or D. Jordan leave in ’19.

        • Pedestrian


          I was going to suggest something similar before reading this comment! As logos said, FS and WR or DE markets don’t compare well with each other. But maybe a team that needs an all pro FS to push them over the top and has some good depth at WR or DE would be willing to give up a promising young talent. Maybe Darius Philon and a 3rd round pick from the chargers? Just spit ballin.

  24. Greg Haugsven

    For me I dont really care about giving $13 million a year or if we give him 4-5 years. Its all about not giving him guarantees beyond 2019. We cant have another Kam situation. If we give him a 3 year $40 million extension making him the highest paid safety Im good. Just only give him guaranteed money for 2018.

    • FresnoHawk

      I see it like the game of craps due to 3 years of 3rd rd draft picks we’ve acquired. Now after 3 years we got all our $$$/players on the table and were waiting to see which if any of our 3rd round picks hit and how big the pay off is. According to all the pundits the next role of the dice is gonna be a 7 or 7 is guaranteed to hit in the next 3 role of the dice.

  25. Greg Haugsven


  26. pran

    Earl’s desire is to make money, not hungry any more and might well want to play safe with injuries being family man.. i don’t blame him a but that does not align with Pete’s philosophy that he is trying to re-create.

    Earl either plays out his current contract or he is traded. I don’t see an extn coming. Good Luck Earl!

  27. FresnoHawk

    No way we do anything with Earl until we know where Kam stands! If they say Kam is %100 will Earl man up and play? I could rationalize many actions if Kam is back.

  28. Pedestrian

    I’ve been banging the drum for awhile now, that you can actually get value back from older players (28-30) before they’ve peaked and the situation becomes sticky. That being paying a player who is about to cross the horizon but is asking for top dollar. I won’t say I can do Schneider’s job better tho…

    From here our, I agree with rob. Reward Earl with a hefty 1 year extension and more money on his current deal. That might change the landscape of trade offers, make ET happy now, and buys Seahawks breathing room to sort out their next move… whatever we do, the Seahawks absolutely can not (should not) cave whether that be a trade with a team or Earls desire for top paid safety multi year extension. ET also did the Seahawks zero favors by giving away leverage to trade him with his “come get me” remarks. Awful position he put us in, and has made me less sympathetic for him

    • FresnoHawk

      Yes it bugs me too Im tired of players knifing Hawks in the back! Seahawks are a fair & honest organization that try’s to do good, they do not deserve to be disrespected, it’s disgusting!

      • Gohawks5151

        Who did this? Kam and Avril got hurt in a violent game. Sherm got hurt and cut. As made mention Walter Jones did this every year and no one hates him. None of these is a real knife situation. Maybe Bennett. How dare Earl ruin his trade value is a weird statement as most don’t want to be traded. Just business on both sides. I have confidence a compromise will get done.

        • Pedestrian

          Gohawks5151, didn’t mean to come across as saying Earl doesn’t have a right to conduct his own business. But by this point it’s obvious to us Earl might prefer a change of scenery – understandably so the legion of boom is gone. He might be swayed to stay with a big contract tho. I believe Schneider say this coming in picking mcdougald and Thompson, and Earl knew it too this the come get me comment. It all feels this was inevitable. And if Earl wanted the best shot to be traded to his team of choice, he actually hurt his chances by making his unhappiness known. It shows the hawks have a problem and need a solution quick, thus giving away our leverage in negotiations. And it should be obvious to Earl it’s bad business to not get good value in a trade – doesn’t help his chances of landing on the team he wants. Just an overall dumb move when he could have discussed with Schneider behind closed doors

          • Gohawks5151

            I see your points. Losing him just brings down the level of talent on the team. Less talent on the team usually leads to less wins which is what we all want to see. I think we lose sight of that some times due to the price tag. I don’t think 12-13 mil per year straps the team. As far as his attitude goes I’m not sure. He is a weird dude but I’m not sure you could question his effort and attitude beyond the last 7 months.

        • AlaskaHawk

          Marshawn Lynch did that exact thing. Took the bonus money he negotiated, got injured and then retired. Later to come out of retirement and play for the Raiders. The GM has been much too kind with these veteran contracts and I don’t think it has played out well for the Seahawks.

  29. Alex Higgins

    I agree with Rob’s analysis with one caveat: I don’t think it makes sense to re-sign Earl to an extension. It’s time to see what the youngsters can do. The Hawks have clearly signaled they are done with drama. Period. PC lost the team and needs to regain his authority.

    I’m hopeful that a week before the season starts, a team will see Earl as the “final piece” and trade for him. Might even happen after the season starts (like we did with Duane Brown).

  30. Pipewrker

    Punk move by Thomas get to work Earl. You sign the contract you honer it how dissapointing.

  31. Ed

    With PC saying we’ll see if ET is with the Hawks at the beginning of the year, really leans my thoughts to him being traded. Maybe PC is tired of all the drama the team has had the last few years. Young player of decent draft pick.

  32. Austin D Hall

    PC seems to be talking up Tedric a lot more than Delano. Perfect example would be todays Press Conference. With that in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tedric starting at Free Safety and Mcdougald starting at Strong Safety if Earl’s holdout continues into the regular season.

    • FresnoHawk

      He looked really explosive on special teams last year with all the starters on the field.

  33. LouieLouie

    Good article, Rob (as usual). Teams won’t pay ET lots of money on a long term deal because he’s not worth it. He’s played 8 seasons in the NFL and that’s going to start catching up on him sooner or later. A long term contract is very risky for a team. Rather than a top tier team, it may be one of the lower tier teams that would give ET a contract, such as the Jets or the Colts. The Hawks could give him a contract that looks great on NFL Network soundbites, which might satisfy his ego, but one that leaves the team some escape clauses in year 3.

  34. Old but Slow

    As Rob has said, losing Earl would be unpleasant, other teams in the league have had success without a FS like him It is an important position in a defense like Pete runs that limits the deep ball, but it does not dictate the defense.

    The team defense looks pretty good. We may need some to step up, but it looks promising, and I am optimistic and anticipating. I would prefer to see Earl Thomas as a career Seahawk, but I accept change, and I will always be a fan.

    Thank you to the SDB community for keeping the conversation going during these down times.

  35. Largent80

    The Texans just lost a safety to cancer. They may be looking. And Thomas could go home to Texas.

  36. TCHawk

    I’d love to have Earl back and finish out his career as a Seahawk, but only if the contract terms are fair to both parties. I think there is another element that should be on his mind – future HOF consideration. ET really needs another 3-4 years of high level production to be a shoe-in, according to folks knowledgeable abut the selection process. His best chance of making that happen is with the Hawks, where he knows the system, schemes, and personnel. Coaches know him and trust him. He also needs to be on the field, not holding out for 6 weeks. He needs production, stats, and longevity to fill out his resume; his talent is beyond question.

    Also, I know I view players more highly that have blossomed and remained with one team for their entire career (I know there are exceptions). Maybe it also influences HOF voters. Finally, playoff success and SB rings are definitely factors in defining a player’s legacy and impact on the game. Playing in an elite defense here should help his chances.

    If he goes somewhere else after the cash, and misses on the HOF, he will never be known as the best safety to ever play the game, something he said he wanted early in his career.

    As far as contract fairness – set up the contract to not be guaranteed for injury like Kam’s. Pay him enough to let him buy his own insurance against injury. The commitment to an injured Kam is really hamstringing the team. Pay him if he plays, but not if he doesn’t.

  37. TCHawk

    I want ET back, but only at a price that is fair to both parties. I wonder if Thomas is factoring in his legacy consideration? Athletes at such elite levels don’t separate themselves by the dollars they made during their careers, but by HOF induction, playoff performances, championships, and public perception.

    Getting into the HOF as a safety is not an easy task. ET probably needs another 3-4 years of good production to be assured. The Seahawks offer his best shot at this, although definitely not exclusively. He knows the coaches, schemes, and personnel. There is already chemistry, that would take time to develop any where else. He is a great talent, but needs to demonstrate longevity and put up more stats for HOF induction. If his productivity drops off with another team for the next 3-4 years, will others view him differently in 10 years? ET said when he first came here he wanted to be recognized as the best safety to ever play the game. I don’t think chasing a few more dollars will help that happen.

    I also respect and admire players who play all or most of their careers with the same team. This may be a minor point, but maybe HOF voters consider such things too. Even though it is more uncommon in today’s game, it is more common for truly elite talents.

    As far as fairness to both parties, pay him $10-12/year, but no guarantees for injury. With that amount of money he can buy his own insurance against injury. We don’t want to hamstring the team by paying a player that is injured and can no longer play (like Kam).

  38. TCHawk

    Oops. Sorry for the dual post. I thought it was lost because it didn’t show even after refreshing my browser.

  39. Brandon

    The best hope we have in this situation, is that another team feels the same kind of desperation that we felt last year (trading for S. Richardson & D. Brown), and ponies up a relatively high draft pick for Earl.

    Unfortunately, the only GM who seems willing to make bold moves like that, in today’s NFL (of valuing draft picks) is our own John Schneider.

    Compare what we gave up for Sheldon Richardson last year (2nd rounder plus Kearse), to what Jacksonville gave up for a similarly talented, but underachieving interior lineman, Marcell Dareus (6th round pick).

    Granted, the Dareaus trade was mid-season, and Richardson was traded in September, but the compensation discrepancy is striking.

    At this point, if we could get a 2nd for Earl, I’d be thrilled. I’d rather hold on to him and hope for a surprise offer than dump him for a 4th rounder.

  40. Sea Mode

    Ryan Grigson hired to Seahawks FO. Hmmm…

    Maybe some guys are good if they are not the head honcho? Kind of like Jeff Ireland I guess.

    • Logan Lynch

      I’m glad the vitriol online is starting to die down a bit on this one. Not that I agree with it or am defending Grigson, but this is nothing if not a classic Pete Carroll redemption move. This dates back to Pete getting run out of NYJ and NE before finding his identity with USC. Schneider finally getting the chance with WAS before getting canned after one year. McCloughan having his personal demons, but getting another chance with SEA. This is PCJS giving a guy another chance.

      Plus, word is he’s just a consultant similar to the Jeff Ireland hiring you mentioned. Before his bumpy GM run with IND, Grigson worked his way up through the ranks with STL and PHI and was generally a highly regarded talent evaluator. The link below is an interesting story to get the view of Grigson’s hiring at the time.

  41. DC

    If Earl gets an extension from the Seahawks then look for the bulk of the money to be paid in 2019 when we have the cap space.
    I’ve gotta believe Clark gets an extension & it’s not going to be cheap. Brown too.

  42. Largent80

    Earl has spent a LOT of money on sports cars, TONS actually. Lambo’s and Camaros with all the options. It’s really hard for me to sympathise with his “family security” mantra when he clearly wants to live the jet setter lifestyle.

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