Earl Thomas had a pretty blunt message for the Seahawks on Instagram: Give me a contract extension, or trade me to a team that wants me.
Not much has changed since last month, when Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times wrote a good primer on Thomas’s contract situation. Essentially, he signed a four-year, $40 million deal in 2014 that at the time paid him the most of any safety in the NFL.
But, the cap’s gone up, and Eric Berry, Rashad Jones, and LaMarcus Joyner are all slated to make more than Thomas this season (so is Kam Chancellor, who it doesn’t sound like will be cleared to play).
As Condotta explains, if Thomas holds out of training camp, which begins July 26th, he is subject to fines of $40,000 a day. For every game he misses, he’d be forgoing $500,000 in pay.
Thomas is 29 years old; he is still a menace on defense, though he has missed seven games over the past two years. So, there is a little cause for injury concern from Seattle’s end.
Thomas’s only real leverage is however the Seahawks value his happiness; the money is significant enough that it’s really difficult to see him actually missing games. It’s understandable why he wants some longer term security at this point and it’s also understandable why the Seahawks would rather him just be unhappy with his circumstances than give that to him. And, they could franchise him a year from now for about $12 million.
The price to land him in a trade would be pretty steep — any franchise that wants him would have to compensate the Seahawks accordingly for an impact player who is effectively controlled for three years with a team option after each season, and then pay him with an extension. (It’s hard to envision a team trading for him, and then playing hardball on a new deal.)
Weirder things have happened, but if I were a betting man I’d predict Thomas does skip some of training camp but his fines get forgiven by the team and he is suited up Week 1 in Denver.