Free agent safety Earl Thomas, who spent last year belly-aching at every turn about the Seattle Seahawks not giving him a contract extension as he entered the final year of his deal that paid him $8.5 million, has reportedly signed a four-year, $55 million deal with Baltimore that includes $32 million in guaranteed money.
So at the end of the day, all of Thomas' histrionics with holding out, threatening not to practice and flipping off coach Pete Carroll (allegedly) were for naught even in spite of breaking his leg Week 4 at Arizona.
On one hand, Thomas' concerns were understandable. He wanted to secure more guaranteed money just in case he suffered a severe injury that would greatly diminish his value, which is what happened with safety Kam Chancellor (neck) in 2017.
On the other hand, Thomas' stance ignored the fact that Seattle had already offered that type of security when it gave him a four-year, $40 million extension in 2014 before his rookie contract expired. A four-year contract is for four years. Not three. Four. Had Thomas gone down for good in game one of year one of that deal, he would have received at least the $27.7 million in guaranteed money. That's the risk a team must take. The player, of course, is then obligated to play out that contract in exchange for the hefty boatload of guaranteed money.
Chancellor will count $12.5 million against the cap in 2019 even though he cannot play. Great for Chancellor. Bad for the team. Maybe that money could have gone to Thomas, or another free agent star. It's a dicey situation, at best. The best possible solution could be to allow teams to have an injury cap allotment where salaries committed to players such as Chancellor could be listed and not count against the salary cap for active players. That way, teams could offer more financial security while not hindering its chances of competing due to money devoted to players that can no longer perform.
Just an idea.
Back to Thomas, who ultimately played all four years in Seattle and received all $40 million despite missing five games in 2016 with a broken leg and then 12 games last year.
Now, just shy of his 30th birthday on May 7, Thomas is receiving another $32 million in guaranteed money. Good for him. All Seattle fans should wish Thomas well and lament the loss of one of the franchise's greatest ever players.
But what went down last year wasn't good for anybody involved. Thomas did not live up to his contract. Some could argue that Seattle should want to keep Thomas moving forward, but the truth is that Baltimore's offer to him is risky. Thomas, who has broken his leg twice now, is no longer at the peak of his powers. This is not to say that Thomas doesn't deserve this type of money. It's to say that Seattle's position on not signing Thomas to an extension makes financial sense. The team did well without him for most of last season by making the playoffs with a 10-6 record and with Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson at safety. That duo will make roughly $4 million combined next season.
It's just a shame that once again, the business aspect of professional sports had lead to a Seattle legend ending his career elsewhere following a messy divorce.