Seahawks’ Wagner speaks up for Thomas

Published 10:07 am Friday, August 24, 2018

Former West Orange-Stark standout Earl Thomas remains a holdout as the All-Pro safety continues to try to work out a contract with the Seattle Seahawks.

There is no doubt Thomas is getting support, especially from his teammates like All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner, who spoke up this week to the media.

“Honestly, I really don’t know,” Wagner said when asked if he could imagine Thomas not reporting for the start of the season. “It’s an interesting thing. You want him to be here. I want him to be here. But at the same time too, there’s a business side of this thing, and sometimes that takes over what you should be doing. I think you see it a lot right now from the defensive side. You have amazing players that are not getting paid…and I think at some point you have to make a stand.”

Thomas, who’s made the Pro Bowl six times in eight seasons and has been named a first team All-Pro three times, has stayed away from the Seahawks all offseason while seeking a new deal and has publicly called for the team to trade him if it isn’t going to extend him.

“I just think that defensive players are just as important as offensive players, if you don’t have a defense, this league doesn’t exist,” said Wagner. “So I feel like defensive players do need to kind of stand their ground just to show like, we’re just as important. You see all the offensive guys getting paid. We’re just as important.”

The 29-year-old Thomas is entering the final year of the four-year, $40 million extension that he signed in 2014, which at the time made him the NFL’s highest-paid safety in terms of annual average. He has since fallen to sixth, with Kansas City’s Eric Berry atop the list at $13 million per season.

“It’s hard to really tell somebody like that what to do because does he deserve to get paid?, I mean look at him<’ said Wagner. “All-Pro, Pro Bowls, best safety in the league. Not many safeties like him. So at some point you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do business-wise because our years are numbered.”

Thomas’ contract includes an $8.5 million base salary for 2018. He’s subject to more than $1 million in team fines already for missing mandatory minicamp and the first three-plus weeks of training camp.

Thomas’ holdout followed an offseason of change for the Seahawks, particularly on defense as Seattle releaed Richard Sherman and Cliff Avril and traded Michael Bennett. Avril and Kam Chancellor are unlikely to play again because of neck injuries.