Earl Thomas is creating a lot of negative-energy waves as this season winds down. To some, it might seem like he is trying to build up a trade tsunami.
But it’s just Earl being Earl — the Pro Bowl safety who wears his heart on his sleeve and sometimes puts his foot in his mouth. And you can expect him to be a happy camper, with feet firmly on the ground, again as soon as John Schneider gives him another contract extension in the coming offseason.
Thomas’ contract — which has one year left — clearly is on his mind, and he seems to be bracing for Seattle to trade him in 2018 or lowball him and force him to go play somewhere else in 2019.
In the last week, Thomas has talked about leaving Seattle twice. Last week, he said, “Actions speak louder than words. … I know whoever gets me, I’m balling. That’s it. I know I’m hot.”
And then he reportedly took that another step Sunday, going into the Cowboys’ locker room and telling coach Jason Garrett to “come get me.” He clarified that solicitation by saying he meant he wanted to play in Dallas once the Seahawks “kick me to the curb” and that he didn’t want to leave Seattle now.
Pete Carroll’s reaction, to 710 ESPN: “He was just having fun. He was really excited about the game. Rub it in a little bit, have a good time with it. He just said something into the future and when you read it, it comes across bad.
“He was really concerned about our fans,” Carroll added. “That was his first hunch: ‘Geez, I don’t want to make them think that I don’t love being here and all that.’ So he said what he could say to try to clear it up and all of that.”
Thomas obviously is concerned about his contract, but there is no reason to be. Schneider has shown he is very willing to give third contracts to the team’s older stars — he did so with Michael Bennett a year ago and Kam Chancellor last summer.
In the wake of season-ending injuries to Cliff Avril (age 31), Chancellor (29) and Richard Sherman (29) — along with the 32-year-old Bennett’s nagging ailments — some might question whether it is wise for the Hawks to invest another big chunk of cash in an aging vet (Thomas will be 29 in May).
But it would be surprising if the Seahawks didn’t try to re-sign him, even at $13 million a year and even understanding he has not played a full season since 2015.
With Avril and Chancellor likely retiring, Sherman unlikely to be kept past 2018 (the final year of his deal) and Bennett probably good for only one more year, too, the Hawks have to redefine their core for 2019 and beyond.
But Thomas should be part of that group — along with Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, Nazair Jones, Shaquill Griffin and possibly DeShawn Shead.
Wright, 28, and Clark, 24, should be re-signed in 2018, ahead of their final contract year. And Wagner, 27, surely will be re-signed in 2019 (along with Russell Wilson).
On the off chance the Seahawks do not want to pay Thomas, they will need to do two things: (1) Find a replacement ASAP and (2) trade Thomas to avoid more of this negative energy next year.
But don’t expect that to happen.