Earl Thomas has been the face of the Seattle Seahawks defense ever since the team drafted him in the first round eight years ago. He has been one of the greatest safeties in the league and he is a first ballot future hall of fame player with more to give to his team, the only problem is I don’t know if the Seahawks are his team any more. Since the glory days of the Legion of Boom in 2013 when Seattle won their first Super Bowl in franchise history, the defense has been completely overhauled. Most of the stars from that defensive unit are gone or could be out the door very soon with Richard Sherman, Micheal Bennett, Cliff Avril, and possibly Kam Chancellor no longer on the team or in the league. The meaning to the phrase “L.O.B.” in Seattle, other than “Legion of Boom” is “Love Our Brother” and there aren’t many brothers left for Earl on the Seahawks roster this season. I believe this holdout to start mini camp by Thomas is a result of him not having much motivation to play in Seattle other than just money and he has a right to need more.
When Kam Chancellor held out until week three of the 2016 regular season, two seasons before his contract was up, the Seahawks responded in 2017 by making him the second highest paid safety in the league behind Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs. Both Chancellor and Berry are still the highest paid at their positions and Thomas currently ranks sixth and his current contract is nothing to scoff at with a total hall of nearly ten and a half million dollars but all three of these players are virtually the same age and Thomas is the most productive. Both Thomas and Chancellor have played eight seasons, all with Seattle, and in that time Thomas has produced twenty more tackles and and doubled Chancellors twelve interceptions with twenty-five of his own. In the same amount of time, Earl have produced ninety-two more tackles and eleven more interceptions than Eric Berry. All these numbers don’t even take into account post season numbers to be fair to Berry. The most important aspect of his game that sets Thomas apart is his durability. Having played in one-hundred and twenty-one games over eight seasons, Thomas has missed just seven games in his entire career while Chancellor has missed nineteen and Berry has missed forty-one. There is no disputing the fact that Earl Thomas has out performed both of these men, yet both Berry and Kam earn more.
Playing any professional sport, especially football, is different from any other occupation in the world, as much as people call it a business, the stakes are so much higher than sitting at a desk. People call players that hold out selfish because they want more money but given how short NFL careers are and the physical toll these players put themselves through, they need to maximize how much they earn for the short time they are in the league. The Seahawks rewarded Kam Chancellor when he pulled something much more courageous than Earl, when he held out two years before his contract was up, so why would Earl feel like he shouldn’t hold out when he is better than Kam, is more durable, and is just one year away from his contract expiring? People need to stop making such a big deal about player hold outs in general because it is their strongest tool to make sure they get what they deserve. Earl Thomas is owed an extension from the Seattle because he has proven he is one of, if not the best at his position and after giving other players on the defense extensions who mean much less to the DNA of the team over the past four years, it would be a crime to end the trend with Thomas.
All this being said, the Seahawks should trade him to the Dallas Cowboys as soon as possible. I know that this seems to counteract what I have said this entire time, but to me it makes all the sense in the world for all parties involved. Earl doesn’t have much left enduring him to Seattle which made it easier for him to decide to hold out to start camp and he has shown that he clearly wants to play for his hometown team in Dallas. The Cowboys have $72 million in cap space in 2019 so they have the means to take on Thomas and the extension he deserves and Dallas desperately needs help in their secondary and Earl’s leadership will also help the entire defense as a whole. The Seahawks missed their best window to trade Thomas during the draft but they can still collect enough assets to justify the trade if they can sign the miraculously still unsigned safety Eric Reid to step in and play at a high level. The most important part about this is that it has to happen quickly because the season is starting and everyone will need some time to adjust and learn. As I said, Seattle missed their window to get the most for Thomas, but they owe him and trading him to a team that is ready to compete and he wants to play for is worth it even if they don’t get as much as they could have earlier in the year. It would be sad to see Earl go but sometimes things have to fall apart to make way for better things and a clean break would be best for everyone.