Earl Thomas’ decision to skip the Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp isn’t going to get him what he wants. Seattle will be happy to wait the safety out.
Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks would love for safety Earl Thomas to be a full participant in the team’s minicamp this week. Unfortunately, Thomas has made it quite clear that won’t be the case. He’s going to skip all team activities until he gets a new deal from the team. Thomas may be forced to wait quite a while.
The 29-year-old safety took to Twitter to explain his decision to the team and their fans. He was careful to point out that he wants to be a Seahawk for life. However, he feels his career contributions to the franchise mean he’s deserving of a new deal.
Thomas is entering the last year of a 4-year, $40 million deal he signed with the Seahawks back in 2015. He could earn up to $10.4 million this season if he meets certain incentives. Given the frigidity of the safety market at the moment, Thomas should be pleased with his current level of compensation.
It’s not about his season for Thomas. He’s looking for long-term security from the only team he’s ever played for. The talented safety and his representatives are smart enough to know that his performance could easily start to decline once he gets on the wrong side of 30. As such, it’s in their best interest to get a significant financial commitment from Seattle before his on-field performance starts to slip.
Of course, the Seahawks realize that too. That’s why they won’t be rushed to the negotiating table. It’s easy for the organization, and everyone monitoring the situation, to see this is a desperate move by Thomas and his representatives. In fact, it’s really the last card he has left to play.
He’s been making noise about wanting a new contract for months now. The Seahawks have had plenty of time to engage him in meaningful discussions. It’s obvious they don’t see extending him as a big priority at the moment.
Thomas is betting that skipping minicamp or preseason will put pressure on Seattle to change their stance. He’s wrong. The team’s front office knows that Thomas doesn’t need a ton of work to get ready for the regular season. He’s intimately familiar with the team’s defensive scheme and personnel. Thomas could skip the majority of the preseason and still comfortably slot in as a Week One starter for the team.
If Thomas elects the nuclear option of holding out into the regular season, Seattle will simply take advantage of the depressed free agent market at his position. Signing someone like Tre Boston or Kenny Vaccaro would be a downgrade, but it would allow the team to avoid disaster. Thomas is excellent, but he’s not irreplaceable.
The unfortunate reality for Earl Thomas is that he doesn’t have enough leverage to force the Seahawks into giving him a new contract. His decision to skip mandatory team activities is going to be a fruitless, and expensive, mistake.