Because of his holdout, Earl Thomas can now be fined more than half a million dollars. That and more thoughts from beat writer Bob Condotta as Seahawks training camp enters its second week.
It finally felt a little like football season at the VMAC Thursday as the Seahawks held their sixth practice of training camp under gray skies and just a tiny bit of rain that fell as players walked off the field.
Here’s what stood out of what I heard and saw:
Fines piling up for Earl Thomas with no end in sight
The day began with holdout free safety Earl Thomas publishing a piece on The Players’ Tribune attempting to explain his side and making it clear he has no plans to cave in.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that there have been no talks with Thomas since training camp began and all indications are that remains the case. There is no thought the team is softening in its stance, either, and no thought there have been negotiations of any kind. There also is no thought there has been much of any trade talks with other teams about Thomas.
Things could obviously change on any or all of those fronts, though I wouldn’t hold your breath that either Thomas or the Seahawks relent on their stances any time soon. More likely to change might be what other teams would offer in a trade as the season nears.
Maybe a team suffers an injury or gets to a point where it decides Thomas is the missing piece and something comes together quickly.
But for now the stalemate continues, with Thomas already subject to roughly $525,000 in fines when you consider the $84,435 he could be docked for missing minicamp in the spring, $40,000 per day during camp and now being fined one percent of his $1.9 million signing bonus (he can be fined in increments up to 25 percent of his bonus throughout camp) which works out to $19,000 a day (all fines are at team discretion). Thomas can also be fined 1/17th of his $8.5 million salary once the regular season begins for each game missed, or $500,000 per game (as well as the bye week).
The team seems content with waiting Thomas out, knowing at some point he may be reluctant to keep losing money and with the knowledge that the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement means Thomas has to show up at some point to avoid having his contract toll.
Exactly when Thomas would return remains some matter of conjecture. It’s generally agreed he’d need to be on the active roster for at least six games for the season to count as an accrued year.
But Thomas might come back earlier to avoid anything happening to put being on the active list for that many games in danger. Specifically, the Seahawks could put Thomas on an exempt list for a few weeks when he returns on the idea he would need a little bit of time to get back in football shape. Of course, the team wouldn’t have to do that.
Regardless of some of the semantics and details of the fines and possible reporting dates, the bigger picture is that with each day Thomas misses and no apparent end to the stalemate, the Seahawks seem that much more likely to open the season without Thomas and with no one in the secondary who was around for the beginning of the Legion of Boom era other than Byron Maxwell.
Daily safety shuffle
So without Thomas, one of the biggest questions hovering over the team is who plays safety.
On Thursday, it was Bradley McDougald at strong safety and Tedric Thompson at free with the number one defense with Maurice Alexander sitting out practice. There was no official word on injuries Thursday with coach Pete Carroll not speaking to the media but indications are Alexander may have just been getting a maintenance day to rest his shoulder after practicing earlier in the week.
But so far, the two most common safety tandems with the number one defense have been either McDougald/Thompson or McDougald/Alexander and right now, one of those two would seem most likely for the opener at Denver unless Thomas returns.
The number two safeties Thursday were Delano Hill and Mike Tyson. Tyson, though, left with an undisclosed injury late in practice with T.J. Mutcherson stepping in.
Trovon Reed a factor at corner?
Turning in one of the plays of the day was Trovon Reed, a fourth-year player who is also in his fourth stint on the Seahawks’ roster after signing last week to add depth after DeAndre Elliott failed his physical.
Reed caught up to a deep Russell Wilson pass intended for Marcus Johnson that appeared to get hung up in the wind a little to pick it off, his fourth interception in three days.
Training camp turnovers can be overblown, but then making plays is also something coaches are looking for, and so far Reed has done that. He also has some NFL experience, appearing in six games for the Chargers in 2016.
And in another interesting sight Thursday, Reed appeared to be getting some snaps at nickel corner, a spot where the Seahawks have a need for a backup behind Justin Coleman.
Lengthy injury report means Jefferson, Jackson step up at DE
Third-round pick Rasheem Green joined the list of injured defensive ends on Thursday. Also out are Dion Jordan and Marcus Smith with Frank Clark remaining limited only to individual drills. It’s unclear what Green’s injury is.
That had the usual defensive ends for the starters in base sets as Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson, and Jefferson in particular seemed to take advantage to make his biggest presence of training camp. Listed as a tackle, on Thursday he appeared to be almost solely an end and if some of the injuries at that spot linger, his ability to play at end could make him that much more valuable.
Rookie Jacob Martin also got a lot of work as a rush end and continues to impress. Right now, Martin looks like he’d have a good chance to make the roster as a backup SLB and rush end.
Josh Forrest, who played in two games for the Seahawks last year and was re-signed to the roster on Thursday, also appeared to get used primarily at SLB Thursday with his addition possibly due to the injuries the team has had at the end spot.
Odds and ends
— Brandon Marshall got his most extensive work of camp, if still not fully involved in everything, catching a TD from Wilson in a red zone team drills (you can read much more on Marshall’s day here).
— In your daily kicking update, Jason Myers appeared to go 5-5 (I say appeared because there were no officials present for a few of the kicks so we were sort of guessing) while Sebastian Janikowski went 4-4.
— Damorea’ea Stringfellow had his best day of camp with two TDs, one coming when he got behind Shaquem Griffin and caught a pass from a scrambling Alex McGough.
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— The starting offensive line remained the same — Duane Brown, Ethan Pocic, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi, left to right. Newly-signed J.R. Sweezy also worked in at RG with Fluker. The second OL was most typically Isaiah Battle, Jordan Roos,Joey Hunt, Rees Odhiambo and Jamarco Jones, with George Fant also working in some at LT. Word is Jones is having a strong camp.
— McGough had another up-and-down day losing a fumble on a scramble when he lost the ball as he gave himself up and throwing a pass at the feet of an open Cyril Grayson at one point.
— Bobby Wagner had a pick of Austin Davis in a 7-on-7 drill.
— Brown has seemed in mid-season form throughout. Thursday, he got the better of Barkevious Mingo in a pass rush drill and I’m not sure I’ve seen Brown lose one yet this camp.
— Marcus Johnson also continues to make his presence felt and had a TD catch in traffic on a play when he plucked the ball away from tight coverage from Tre Flowers of a pass thrown by Wilson.
— Chris Carson was typically the tailback when the number one offense began drills. But Rashaad Penny also got a series with the starting offense with the Seahawks appearing to do a little more rotating of the tailbacks on Thursday. Carson’s receiving skills have been on display throughout camp and Thursday he beat Wagner on a double move during a one-on-one drill to catch a pass 15 yards or so downfield from Wilson.
— Will Dissly had a nice grab of a Wilson pass on a crossing route when he got a step on K.J. Wright.
— Fullbacks Kahlid Hill and Jalston Fowler remain out leaving only Tre Madden at that position getting any work.
— David Moore (hip) also remains out.
— J.D. McKissic delivered one of the bigger hits of camp so far when he lowered his shoulder into Mutcherson at the end of a run, drawing lots of oohs and aahs from teammates. Mutcherson wasn’t injured.
— I didn’t see Doug Baldwin anywhere at practice today. Not sure if that means anything, but possibly could mean he is somewhere getting some sort of treatment on his sore knee. What I heard today backs up what has been thought — you won’t likely see him much or all in the preseason with the plan working toward getting him ready for the regular season.
— And to reiterate the roster moves made Thursday, the Seahawks signed cornerback Jeremy Boykins and Forrest and waiving safety Alex Carter and tight end Je’Ron Hammto make room on the 90-man roster. The 23-year-old Boykins played at Central Florida, the fifth player from UCF on the roster joining Shaquem and Shaquill Grifin, Mutcherson and Marshall.