Six-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas used his Instagram account to nudge the Seattle Seahawks in contract negotiations, suggesting that the team he helped lead to its lone Super Bowl victory should trade him if an extension remains elusive.
Thomas is entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million extension. His annual salary average ranks sixth among safeties.
For Thomas, working out an extension now — whether with Seattle or another team — could lock in guaranteed money and protect him against injuries as he approaches his 30s. He has missed seven games due to injury the past two seasons after missing zero previously.
Fellow Seattle safety Kam Chancellor succeeded in brokering an extension early in training camp last summer after a sometimes contentious negotiation. That move worked out well for him when Chancellor suffered what appears to be a career-ending injury, but it could deter Seattle from entering into third contracts with other older players.
The Seahawks have undergone a youth movement on defense, releasing cornerback Richard Sherman and trading defensive lineman Michael Bennett. Another defensive lineman, Cliff Avril, was forced into retirement by injury.
Thomas remains one of the NFL’s elite safeties at age 29, but with the Seahawks moving on from multiple defensive stalwarts, including fellow Legion of Boom member Sherman, the timing could be right for Seattle to consider moving Thomas.
Thomas made headlines in December after a Christmas Eve game when he ran to catch up with Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett after a Seattle victory. Thomas followed Garrett into the Cowboys’ locker room and told the coach, in a comment caught on microphones, “If you have a chance to get me, come get me.”
A three-time All-Pro selection, Thomas skipped minicamp in protest of his contract situation. He was the NFL’s highest-paid safety in terms of annual average when he signed the deal in 2014 but has since fallen to sixth, with the Kansas City Chiefs‘ Eric Berry topping the list at $13 million per year.
The Seahawks are not in negotiations with Thomas, and there has been nothing to indicate that they are interested in giving him an extension while his current deal has a season remaining. Thomas’ current deal carries an $8.5 million salary in 2018.
The team is set to open training camp July 26.