NFL.com reported the Seahawks want a hefty package of draft picks in any trade for the four-time All-Pro free safety.
Maybe you thought the events of the weekend would force the issue with Earl Thomas — that his practice sit-outs would compel the Seahawks to finally either trade him or pay him, or at least begin taking significant steps in one direction or another.
But the Monday business day came and went with no new news on Thomas, and with coach Pete Carroll saying everything remains on the table while also indicating there’s no reason things can’t just stay the way they are — with one possible exception.
Practice, Carroll said, is important and if Thomas wants to keep sitting out to protect himself then there will be “consequences.’’ Carroll, though, didn’t say what those would be.
“There are consequences for your actions, that’s just the way it is,’’ Carroll said. “And because you (media members) don’t know about it doesn’t mean that something is not going on, and we don’t share that stuff with you because we don’t have to and there is no need to. So we just do our work on the inside and take care of business. There is a lot of trust (in the team’s meeting room) that we are doing the right things and we are doing things for the right reasons and that we are not overlooking things that you may be suggesting and letting things go.’’
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Thomas said Sunday after the 24-13 victory over Dallas, which he sparked with interceptions in the first quarter and the fourth, that he expected to be fined for deciding not to take part in practice when he doesn’t want to — as he did last Friday — and indicated he was willing to live with that going forward.
Said Carroll, when asked if Thomas has shown that maybe practice isn’t important: “Practice is really important.’’
Asked if he worried what other players on the team would think if Thomas plays despite not practicing, Carroll candidly said, “I’m really not worried about the players right now, what they think. Earl gets to say, these guys gets to say whatever they want to say. I can’t stop them from talking — they get to say whatever they want.’’
What Carroll said he is worried about is how decisions made now fit in with the team’s long-range plan.
Thomas held out because the Seahawks did not offer him a long-term extension heading into this season, which is the last on his four-year, $40 million contract. He returned the Wednesday before the season opener saying he came back solely to avoid losing $500,000 a week game checks. It’s been thought the team’s stance on signing Thomas hasn’t changed despite the fact that he has started off with three interceptions in three games and this week is again rated as the No. 1 safety in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.
The Seahawks have listened to trade offers for Thomas but also appear to be driving a hard bargain. NFL.com reported Monday night that the Cowboys offered a second-round choice for Thomas during the preseason, but that Seattle wants at least what it gave up last year to Houston for left tackle Duane Brown — which was a second- and a third-round pick.
Asked if an extension is still possible, Carroll said everything remains on the table.
“Everything is possible,’’ he said. “We are open to whatever we need to do to keep moving forward in a positive manner. I totally understand when guys are at the end of their contracts, they want to get another contract. We have been through that for years. So that’s nothing new and it’s legit — it’s legitimate. Guys are concerned about their future. I get it and we respect the heck out of that. There’s a lot of business that goes beyond just one person’s business and there is a lot of things taking place and a lot of things going on, so it is all under consideration as we look forward. We are trying to do really good stuff by our guys and we always have and we will continue to try to do that whenever we can.’’
Among the other contracts the Seahawks have to worry about in the near future are defensive end Frank Clark, whose rookie contract runs out after this season, and quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, whose deals each go through 2019.
But after years of being up against the cap and having little wiggle room, the shedding of a number of veterans the past year or so means Seattle will have a lot of space in 2019 and beyond — OvertheCap.com lists the Seahawks as currently having more than $62 million in cap space in 2019, ninth-most in the NFL.
So Seattle theoretically has the room if it wants to use it on Thomas.
But Thomas is thought wanting likely more than the $13 million a year of Kansas City’s Eric Berry, a contract that would begin when he would be 30 years old, and the Seahawks have to weigh if that investment is worth it, having obviously to this point decided against it — or at least, decided against a deal that would be a slam dunk for Thomas to sign.
‘There are a lot of guys on this squad, a lot guys who have contracts that are under consideration, which we are always working on a very long-range plan, and things fit accordingly,’’ Carroll said.
So for Monday, at least, things apparently remain where they’ve been despite a weekend of national media-fueled rumors and speculation. Carroll noted how well Thomas played against Dallas and how engaged he was on the sidelines as proof that no matter what is happening off the field and during the week, Thomas is still bringing it the same as ever on game day.
“You guys are all wanting to get at this,’’ Carroll told reporters Monday. “I’m not going to talk about it very much because we are working on stuff on the inside and I am working with a guy that I have been working with for a lot of years. And I care a lot about Earl and I want to do him right and I want to do our players right and our team right and that is what we are doing under the considerations and circumstances (of) one guy that is in a position that he feels is different than other guys. So we are dealing with it in I think what will be a very direct fashion.’’