It didn't take long for the Baltimore Ravens to make up their mind regarding the future of Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas, as the team announced on Sunday that it had released him for personal conduct that has adversely affected the franchise. This means that the Ravens will try to nullify the $10 million he was set to make in 2020. Not long after the decision was made, Thomas took to Instagram to thank the team.
"Appreciate the Ravens organization for the opportunity. Had a great run," Thomas wrote. "Wish things would have ended different but you live and you learn. Thank you Eric DeCosta and everyone else who played a role in bringing me to B-More. Wish you guys the best."
Thomas was sent home from practice on Friday after a fight with teammate Chuck Clark. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora confirmed the report, and added that the team's leadership council made it clear that they did not want Thomas around. There also is reportedly support for third-year safety DeShon Elliott to take his place, and Tony Jefferson -- who spent the last three seasons in Baltimore -- remains unsigned and is an option for the Ravens.
Thomas was set to enter his second season with the Ravens, and signed a four-year deal worth $55 million in 2019. The 31-year-old recorded 49 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and two interceptions in his first season with his new club, and made his seventh Pro Bowl. On Saturday, Thomas took to social media to add some more context to his side of the situation with Clark. He also included a video from practice of the moments leading up to his altercation with his fellow safety. Thomas admits that was a "mental error on my part" on a blown coverage was what sparked things. He also appeared a bit miffed that this situation wasn't kept "in house."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh did not further elaborate on the team's decision to release Thomas following Sunday's practice. Harbaugh did express confidence in DeShon Elliott, a 2018 sixth-round pick who is expected to replace Thomas in the starting lineup.
"It's his time," Harbaugh said of Elliott, via ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "So, here we go."
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Dallas Cowboys are the favorite to sign Thomas, while the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans are teams to keep an eye on as well. The Cowboys were always considered the favorite to land Thomas when he was going through his breakup with the Seattle Seahawks. Dallas did go out and sign former Chicago Bears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in free agency, but Thomas would figure to be an instant upgrade in the secondary. Thomas' price tag was always a hurdle when it came to a prospective move to Dallas, but now that he's released, that may not be a problem for the Cowboys.