We never thought the Seahawks would dump Michael Bennett or Richard Sherman this offseason, simply because it made no sense to do so. But they did. And now it looks like Earl Thomas will follow them, even if that makes no sense either.
For most of this offseason, the word on Thomas has been that the Seahawks want to keep him but would accept a very favorable trade.
At the owners meetings in Orlando, John Schneider again reiterated the Seahawks are listening to offers for the safety, but he also strongly hinted he is not inclined to give a second extension to Thomas.
Schneider apparently has decided he no longer wants to gamble on third contracts for core veterans. He said he and team contract negotiator Matt Thomas are not talking to Thomas’ agents about an extension and will instead focus on extending younger players.
“There are a number of guys that we have coming up that have one year left,” Schneider said. “Earl: This would be his third contract.”
That is the second time Schneider has mentioned the concept of a third contract as though it is a non-starter. At the combine, he said extending a highly paid veteran with a year left is “a little different situation than when you have a guy coming off his rookie deal and then you are just going on a second contract.”
Schneider obviously has changed his approach after being burned by extensions for established stars Marshawn Lynch, Kam Chancellor and Bennett. Schneider was never going to extend Sherman, even if he had been healthy, and it sounds very much like he has no interest in paying Thomas top dollar again either. Both Schneider and Pete Carroll emphasized that Thomas has one year left on his contract.
A big part of the disinclination to keep Sherman, Bennett and Thomas has to be Schneider and Carroll finally growing tired of the griping and distractions. They put up with tons of that during their 2012-16 playoff stretch — from the constant insubordination of Lynch and Sherman to contract bitching from Chancellor and Bennett to Thomas’ mutinous move in Dallas.
The Seahawks clearly are done with all of that. They quite obviously are trying to reset their culture, to bring in guys who won’t violate Carroll’s top two rules: Protect the team and don’t complain. And the Hawks obviously don’t care whether they get much, or anything, for any of them.
Thomas has said he wants to remain in Seattle. But he also has said he wants to be the highest-paid safety and will hold out if he isn’t.
If Schneider doesn’t want to pay Thomas, he obviously has to trade him. So expect Thomas to be dealt by draft day.