2018 NFL Training Camp: Earl Thomas reportedly preparing to hold out into regular season
Thomas either wants a new deal from the Seahawks or a trade to another team
The Earl Thomas holdout saga may still be closer to the beginning than the end. According to a report from ESPN.com's Adam Schefter, there is a belief around the league that Thomas is prepared to sit out through training camp and into the regular season .
Thomas is headed into the final season of a four-year, $40 million contract that will pay him $8.5 million in base salary and see him count for $10.4 million against the cap. There are currently five safeties (Eric Berry, Reshad Jones, Kam Chancellor, LaMarcus Joyner, and Harrison Smith) who have a greater average annual value on their current contracts, and four (Joyner, Berry, Malcolm Jenkins, and Jimmie Ward) who will collect a larger base salary than Thomas in 2018.
Thomas, still the best safety in football, is headed into his age-29 season and is coming off yet another Pro Bowl campaign. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl in every seasons since 2011 with the exception of 2016, when he was injured and unavailable to play in the game. He's also been named an All-Pro five times during that span, including last year, when he made the second team.
He rightly does not feel that his current contract pays him an amount that is commensurate with his impact, and he has no long-term security beyond this season. The Seahawks have generally waited until there's a year left on players' contracts before negotiating an extension, but that's where Thomas is right now and there have been no such talks, so he obviously sees the writing on the wall for his Seahawks career.
There has been speculation throughout the offseason that Thomas could be traded to his hometown Dallas Cowboys, but a team official told The Athletic's Calvin Watkins recently that those talks are because the Seahawks will not sell low on Thomas and the Cowboys will not overpay for him. Jerry and Stephen Jones talked around Thomas-related questions at their press conference at Cowboys camp on Wednesday, while still leaving the door somewhat ajar for them to make that particular move. There was also a recent report connecting Thomas to the Raiders, but it received pushback later the same day.
Whatever the case, Thomas is clearly unhappy about his contract situation, and he appears prepared to act on that unhappiness by holding out. The Seahawks hold all the cards when it comes to paying or trading him, though, so this does not seem like a situation that is going to have a quick resolution.
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