Earl Thomas is on the mend but the Seahawks are continuing to look for experienced depth in the secondary.
The concern about the return of Earl Thomas in time for the 2017 season seems to lessen with each day.
Early Tuesday afternoon, Thomas posted another video of his rehab regime along with the statement that he is “Thinking about all my teammates. I’m not gonna let y’all down real talk.”
A few hours later, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in an interview on KJR-AM 950 that Thomas’ rehab is coming along more quickly than planned.
“All reports are he’s way ahead of schedule now,” Carroll said.
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Carroll had also said at the NFL Combine last week that he anticipated Thomas — who suffered a broken tibia in a game against Carolina on Dec. 4 — making it back in time for the season.
The injuries last year to Thomas and Kam Chancellor — who missed four games at mid-season with a groin issue — reinforced to the team the need for depth at the safety spot.
At the moment, both of last year’s primary backups — strong safety Kelcie McCray and free safety Steven Terrell — remain unrestricted free agents with Seattle continuing to explore veteran options.
The latest is Bradley McDougald, who played the last four years with Tampa Bay, starting every game the last two seasons at free safety. ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported first that McDougald is expected to visit the Seahawks later this week, a fact later confirmed by a league source to the Seattle Times.
That comes after it had been reported that the Seahawks wanted to bring in J.J. Wilcox of Dallas for a visit. Wilcox, though, signed with Tampa Bay, apparently likely to replace McDougald, who appears unlikely now to return to the Bucs.
Seattle could also look to a draft that is strong in defensive players, and especially the secondary. But the dropoff last season from Thomas to Terrell — a third-year player who had never started until filling in for Thomas — may have convinced the Seahawks to make sure they have some veteran insurance at a particularly key position in the Seattle defense.
McDougald made two interceptions last season, one coming against Seattle when he picked off a pass in the final minutes to secure a 14-5 Tampa Bay win.
A graduate of Kansas, McDougald originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He made $2.5 million last season as a restricted free agent.