Hey Dallas Cowboys. Come get him.
It’s time for the Seattle Seahawks to say goodbye to Earl Thomas and let him move on down the line, whether it’s the Cowboys or any other NFL team willing to give up something decent for the Pro-Bowl free safety.
Thomas announced on Twitter he will not attend minicamp this week. He’s willing to pay the $84,000 in chump change it will cost him in fines to stand his ground in hopes of getting a contract extension.
Thomas is in the final year of the 4-year, $40 million deal, which means he will make $10 million this season. He wants a new deal that will pay him among the highest-paid safeties in the league, which would up the amount to about $13 million a year.
Doesn’t really sound like that much, does it? However, Thomas likely would want four more years, making the deal over $50 million, likely with at least $40 guaranteed.
Do the Seahawks want to invest that much money in a player who will be 33 when the deal ends?
Maybe, but they shouldn’t. Not now. Not where the team is at this point.
The Seahawks already have jettisoned cornerback Richard Sherman, defensive end Michael Bennett and tight end Jimmy Graham. They also know strong safety Kam Chancellor and defensive end Cliff Avril will not play again because of neck injuries suffered last season.
That era, the best in team history leading to back-to-back Super Bowls, has ended. The Seahawks, while not officially rebuilding, are going to rely on younger players moving forward.
It doesn’t make sense to hand Thomas a big pot of money for a team that has changed its path and is willing to start fresh in many ways. And one of those ways is to eliminate distractions as much as possible, a big reason some of the names above are gone.
Thomas now is the central story of the summer for Seattle. Will he come to training camp? Will the Seahawks stand firm and make him play out his current deal? Will they give in and sign him to a multi-year extension? Will they franchise tag him for next year?
It’s the biggest story until it’s resolved in some fashion. The Seahawks don’t need the aggravation.
If this team was an odds-on favorite to reach the Super Bowl this season, with most of those pieces that got them there still around, then sure, give Thomas what he wants.
That isn’t the case. Thomas remains one of the best free safeties, if not the best, in the NFL. Whoever replaces him (probably 2017 third-round draft pick Delano Hill) won’t be Thomas. But Thomas’ presence isn’t going to significantly alter where this team is headed now and how it plans to get back to the top.
It’s not the right thing to do from a financial standpoint to give him a new long-term deal. It also isn’t the right thing for the Seahawks to stand their ground and force Thomas to play this season under his current contract.
Thomas’ attitude and overall unhappiness makes that a bad move. Even if he shows up on time for training camp, Thomas won’t be happy. He will be the turd in the punchbowl, the star player who feels he’s mistreated and underappreciated.
It wasn’t just a typical wacky move by Thomas last December after the game against Dallas when he ran all the way to the Cowboys locker room to embrace Dallas coach Jason Garrett and say: “If you have a chance, come get me.”
Thomas, a Texas native who played for the University of Texas, grew up a Cowboys fan. That’s great, but don’t run to the opponent’s locker room for the whole world to see.
At the time, it just seemed like Earl being Earl and doing something off the wall. It wasn’t. Thomas knew exactly what he was doing. He wants his money now or he wants out.
Let him out. That should have happened months ago when the Seahawks could have gotten a lot more for him. It won’t be much now (a fourth-round draft choice or maybe a third) unless it is a sign-and-trade deal where the new team knows they have Thomas locked up.
Whatever it is, send Thomas on down the road. NFL teams, here’s your chance. Come get him.