Thomas talks contract at Pro Bowl

Published 3:13 pm Monday, January 29, 2018

By Michael-Shawn Dugar


Earl Thomas hasn’t been shy about what he wants from Seattle.

In June, the Seahawks free safety cited Eric Berry’s contract extension — six years, $78 million — as a reason he opted against retiring after suffering a season-ending leg injury in December 2016.

In December 2017, Thomas strolled into the Cowboys locker room and told the head coach to sign him if given the opportunity.

Just days before that, Thomas said he plans to play for “whoever” signs him to a long-term deal in the future, leaving the door open for one of the best defensive players in the league to potentially take his services elsewhere.

Thomas was at it again at the Pro Bowl in Orlando, this time delivering a not-so-subtle ultimatum to the Seahawks, suggesting that without a contract extension, he won’t take the field in 2018.

“I know me, so I won’t allow myself to even go out there and just risk it all if they not having faith in me and a long-term deal,” Thomas told NFL Network’s Jane Slater on Saturday. “I just gotta protect myself, at the end of the day — me and my family, that’s the first thing. Like I said, I don’t feel comfortable just going out there without signing a long-term deal.”

January isn’t typically the time players discuss contract holdouts but that seems to be what Thomas is indicating he’s willing to do if Seattle doesn’t agree on a new deal before the season starts.

Thomas, 28, is entering the final year of the four-year, $40 million extension he signed in 2014. Fresh off his sixth Pro Bowl appearance, and one vote shy of a fourth First-Team All-Pro honor, Thomas is likely to see a major payday in the near future.

If Seattle’s front office follows its usual course of action, then Thomas would more than likely see a contract extension in the summer that would keep him in Seattle for about three or four more years. And if Seattle’s front office follows its usual course of action in dealing with holdouts, the team won’t budge if Thomas holds out in the summer.

But, if Thomas holds out with just one year remaining on his deal then perhaps Seattle pays him, seeing as the team was probably likely to do so regardless. (It’s the contracts with multiple years remaining that Seattle tends to not budge on.)

The question is the dollar amount.

Thomas mentioned Berry’s deal, which is much longer than Seattle may be willing to offer. However, Berry’s deal averages about $13 million per year, which the Seahawks might be able to pay Thomas annually, just a shorter deal.

Asked Jan. 2 if there’s any reason to believe Thomas wouldn’t be on the Seahawks next year, coach Pete Carroll said: “Earl had a terrific year. He had a really good year and he did a marvelous job of recovering from his injury and coming back.”

That’s not exactly an endorsement. So between now and the season opener, Seattle has to take action, before Thomas takes action of his own.