The fines Earl Thomas has racked up for holding out of training camp will pass three-quarters of a million bucks this weekend.
Does that mean the Seahawks are going to collect?
Per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement teams can fine players $40,000 per day for missing training camp. They can then add onto that after five days, by fining a holding-out player 15 percent of his prorated amount of his signing bonus for that year. Each day after that, the prorated-bonus fine fine can increase by one percent.
When Thomas missed Friday’s practice he extended his holdout through an eighth day of training camp. Counting the mandatory reporting day July 25, the Seahawks could add 17 percent of $1.9 million to his daily fines. That’s $323,000. That is on top of $320,000 in daily fines for him missing training camp so far, plus the $84,000 he could be fined for missing the team’s mandatory minicamp in June.
That sounds like a hefty deterrent to Thomas continuing to blow off training camp. Unless, of course, the Seahawks don’t intend to hold their All-Pro safety to those fines.
Pete Carroll was asked Friday if the team intends to hold Thomas to those fines.
“I’m not going to share what we are doing on that, if you don’t mind,” the coach said.
If Kam Chancellor’s holdout from 2015 is any precedent, the Seahawks will be collecting all those fines from Thomas.
A league source with knowledge of Thomas’ situation with the Seahawks now and with Chancellor’s with the team in 2015 said the Seahawks collected all of $1 million-plus in fines from Chancellor.
“Every dime,” the source said.
Chancellor then missed two game checks that September by extending his holdout into that regular season before he returned. Those regular-season weeks aren’t team fines. They are game checks lost.
If Thomas extends his holdout into the 2018 regular season that begins Sept. 9 and is not on the active roster by then, the CBA mandates he forfeit his salary for that week. In Thomas’ case, it would be 1/17th of his 2018 base pay of $8.5 million, or $500,000 per game.
Another incentive for Thomas to report by that opener in Denver in a little over four weeks: If a vested veteran (a player with at least four years of accrued service time in the NFL), as Thomas is, is on a team’s active roster through the first game week of a regular season his entire salary for that season becomes guaranteed. If Thomas returned before Week One, even if he then got hurt following that week, he’d still get his entire $8.5 million for 2018.
Thomas wrote this week on the Players’ Tribune the possibility of injury and an NFL team being able to discard a player who is no longer of use to it is a factor in wanting to get paid all he can now, when he still can.
“Of course, we all know what we’re risking every time we take the field,” Thomas wrote. “But that Thursday night game (at Arizona in November when teammates Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles tendon and Kam Chancellor got a career-ending neck injury) really cemented in my mind the truth — which is that your entire life can change on one play. And when it does, no matter what you’ve accomplished in the past … you can still get cut without even so much as a negotiation. That’s what happened to Sherm. One of the all-time greats. And I know it could happen to me too. ...
“I’m standing strong when it comes to getting what I deserve,” Thomas wrote.
That strong stand continues to come at a mounting cost, a cost it appears the Seahawks intend to collect.
In the meantime, anything new on the impasse with Thomas?
“No change,” Carroll said.