In 2018, Earl Thomas will play under the final year of his current $40 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks.
His annual salary is the sixth highest of any safety in the NFL – and it’s fair to say he deserves that money.
Thomas has been in the league since 2010, when he was taken by Seattle as the 14th overall pick of that year’s draft.
And he’s been dominating NFL offenses ever since.
In the last eight seasons, the free safety has been to the Pro Bowl six times and helped guide the Seahawks to their first-ever Super Bowl win in 2014.
With the likes of Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Kam Chancellor, Thomas formed part of the Legion of Boom, football’s most feared defense of recent years.
But all good things come to an end, and the LOB has all but dissolved following the departures of Sherman and Bennett and the retirement of Chancellor.
And that’s left Thomas in a pretty weak position.
PUSHING FOR A NEW DEAL
He’s still one of the NFL’s elite defensive players, but his situation in Seattle is far from clear.
The team appears to be having a revolution on D, moving on from their old standout stars in favour of younger blood.
Thomas is now approaching 30 and with his current deal running down, he’s looking for a contract with guaranteed money – to give him that financial protection moving forward.
Now, the Seahawks are yet to open negotiations and there’s no indication that they’re willing to offer him an extension while he has a season left.
But they may be forced into at least setting down the groundwork because Thomas has fired the franchise a warning on social media.
A SIMPLE MESSAGE
“Always been the underdog ain’t nothing new,” Thomas posted on Instagram, captioning a photo of himself working out.
“Extend… if you don’t want me let’s make a trade happen I understand it’s a bizz.”
That’s a pretty simple message – and one that sends a clear warning to Seattle.
If they want to keep one of the league’s best safeties, they need to make him feel loved – and a new contract would do just that.
But if they don’t, Thomas could easily push for a move away from the Seahawks.
By doing so, he would become the latest former LOB member to skip town, completely shutting down one of the most successful defensive stables in NFL history.