Seattle Seahawks

Earl Thomas says he's staying away from Seahawks until a new deal

Three-time All-Pro safety Earl Thomas issued a statement online Sunday that he will remain away from "any team activities until my contract situation is resolved." His contract ends after the 2018 season.
Three-time All-Pro safety Earl Thomas issued a statement online Sunday that he will remain away from "any team activities until my contract situation is resolved." His contract ends after the 2018 season. jbessex@gateline.com

Earl Thomas is willing to pay a relatively nominal fee for sticking to principle for the next six weeks.

And maybe longer, into training camp this summer.

The three-time All-Pro safety issued an edict on Sunday, posting online he will remain away from the Seahawks' offseason workouts and "any team activities until my contract situation is resolved."

Thomas' statement is the clearest indication yet he intends to stand his ground on wanting a new contract up to and perhaps into training camp that begins for the Seahawks on July 26—and, then, potentially, to a holdout into the season.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider has said multiple times this offseason Thomas' representatives have assured him Thomas will not hold out into the 2018 season. But as of last month, the Seahawks had not talked about an extension with Thomas' agents since March.

Thomas keeps saying he wants to remain with Seattle, the only NFL team he's known, beyond the four-year, $40 contract extension he signed in 2014 ending after the 2018 season.

Schneider keeps saying the Seahawks' precedent of signing core players to extensions well before their current deals end apply only to second contracts and not to Thomas in this case because the 29-year-old safety is seeking a third contract with the team, at top dollar.

The last time the Seahawks gave such a lucrative third deal to a foundational player, last August, strong safety Kam Chancellor got $15 million guaranteed and then a career threatening neck injury three months later. Chancellor's status for 2018 and beyond remains doubtful, pending more tests on his neck in the coming weeks.

Thomas has remained away from all voluntary offseason workouts, including all 10 of the team's organized team activities practices that ended on Thursday, as he seeks an extension of his contract that ends after the 2018 season. He has said he wants to be among the highest-paid safeties, or the highest-paid in the NFL. That would mean a deal worth at least $13 million per year with $40 million guaranteed.

The Seahawks have their only mandatory workouts of the offseason this week: their mandatory minicamp Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at team headquarters. Per the league's collective bargaining agreement, the Seahawks can fine Thomas up to $84,435 if he misses all three days of the mandatory minicamp.

Essentially, Thomas is stating he's willing to pay $84,000 for maintaining whatever leverage he can in his contract situation for at least another six weeks, until training camp.

Coach Pete Carroll said last week he expected all players at this week's minicamp, but that was solely because it is mandatory and not because Thomas told him or anyone with the team he specifically would show up for it.

Daily fines can grow exponentially should Thomas decide to keep making his stance into training camp.

The last time the Seahawks had a player hold out into training camp was Chancellor in 2015. He stayed away more than 50 days, through the first two games of that season, before he returned having gained zilch. He didn't get that contract for which he held out until two years later.

Sunday, the Seahawks found out Thomas is willing to lose $84,000 for now, and potentially more, to stay on principle.

  Comments