Despite Pete Carroll’s wishful thinking, it looks like Earl Thomas probably won’t show up for minicamp in June.
Thomas has told Bradley McDougald he’ll be back — but only “when they get things worked out.”
“He’s let me know that he’ll be back when the time is right and when they get things worked out,” McDougald told John Clayton on 710 ESPN. “That’s his personal business when it comes to his contract and things, but he’s reassured me a couple times that he’ll be back.”
Yeah, but when? It doesn’t look like anything is getting worked out.
Despite Carroll’s optimism and Thomas’ agents apparently telling John Schneider the safety wouldn’t hold out, Thomas made it clear at the Pro Bowl in February that he would not report without a new deal.
“I definitely don’t see myself going out there not signed,” said Thomas, who is under contract for one more season. “I think if they want me, you know, money talks.”
According to Schneider, there hasn’t been much talking since the Combine. Just before the draft, Schneider said Thomas’ agents “know where we are at’’ regarding Thomas’ contract and “nothing has changed” since they talked in Indianapolis.
Schneider has strongly hinted the team is uninterested in paying Thomas at the top of the market — $14 million APY. And the best he has said about Thomas’ status is: “He is (on the team) right now. I mean, he’s on our roster. … He’s under contract.”
With Thomas out, McDougald is working at free safety in OTAs, “in case anything does happen, for safety assurance.” He said he is focusing on “getting more range in my game,” reading the quarterback, getting better breaks off the ball and lining up coverage of receivers.
“When (Thomas) does get back,” McDougald said, “I’ll get back into my groove of being in the box (at strong safety).”
If Thomas does not come back, though, the 27-year-old McDougald could end up being the leader of the secondary in just his second season in Seattle, leading a new starting quartet that could include Delano Hill alongside corners Shaquill Griffin and Byron Maxwell.
McDougald said Kam Chancellor, whose career is thought to be finished, has encouraged him to take a leadership role.
“There’s a lot of young guys in the back end. They’re very talented, but they just need guidance,” McDougald said. “Now that (Chancellor and Richard Sherman are) gone and until Earl gets back, it’s kind of my secondary and I have to carry these guys.”