Earl Thomas wasn't short on histrionics this week, as he missed two practices despite being in good health. He also wasn't short on heroics Sunday, as he intercepted two passes to make it three picks on the year.
Just make a decision already.
No more drama. No more shenanigans. No more Barnum & Bailey.
Extend him or trade him.
No more skipped practices. No more cryptic comments. No more weekly wondering of whether he’ll remain in Seattle.
Earl Thomas wasn’t short on histrionics this week, as the Seahawks’ free safety missed two practices despite being on site and in good health. He also wasn’t short on heroics Sunday, as he intercepted two passes to make it three picks on the year.
You can’t deny the talent he displays every time he steps onto the field. But you also can’t deny the tension he’ll create if he remains on the team sans an extension.
So Pete Carroll and John Schneider, for everyone’s sake — get something done.
Thomas didn’t take part in practice last Wednesday or Friday, and after Sunday’s 24-13 win over Dallas, he made clear why.
“I need to make sure my body is 100. I’m investing in myself. If they were invested in me, I would be out there practicing,” he said. “But if I feel like if I have anything, even if it’s something small, if I got a headache, I’m not practicing.”
To Earl’s credit, it doesn’t get more honest than that. But if you’re a coach trying to keep control of your team, it doesn’t get more daunting.
What is Carroll supposed to do if this continues week after week? What kind of example and/or precedent does it set if star players can simply make their own schedule?
Yes, Thomas will likely be fined, as he indicated Sunday. But it’s pretty clear that won’t be enough to alter Earl’s decision-making. As far as suspending him? Good luck selling that to any fan or teammate.
Pro Football Focus ranked Thomas as the No. 1 safety in the NFL through the first two games of the year. Then he went ahead and added two interceptions to his season total.
The first came in the first quarter, after cornerback Tre Flowers popped the ball loose from Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup’s hands, and Thomas scooped it up at his shoelaces before it hit the ground. The second came in the fourth quarter, when Dak Prescott’s pass bounced off a slew of Cowboys and Seahawks, and eventually landed in Thomas’ hands.
You could argue that Earl was simply in the right place at the right time on each pick. But the thing is, Earl is always in the right place at the right time.
“Earl’s magic. Earl got a lot of that. At the end of the day, it’s a cross between magic and greatness,” Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark said Sunday. “I’m thankful I can keep seeing this Earl magic and greatness.”
Whether Clark will continue to see that magic/greatness combo remains in question. Thomas said that, before kickoff, he thought he might be playing his last game as a Seahawk, a thought he echoed after the game.
He doesn’t necessarily want to leave. He just wants to be “appreciated.” But he made clear that he will continue to temper his “investment” until the status quo changes.
So what’s the play?
There is surely a case for extending him. The 29-year-old was considered one of the best safeties in football before the season and has been the best over the past three weeks. His three interceptions are more than he had in each of his past two seasons, and are two shy of his career-high.
The Seahawks don’t know if he would be worth what he’s asking for over a three-to-four-year period, but they also don’t know if they could cash in on the (second-round?) draft pick they’d get in exchange for him.
Doesn’t matter how much scouting you’ve put in, drafts are as much about luck as they are preparation. An array of Seahawks flops over the past few years have proven that.
Thomas might not be able to play at this level into his 30s, but it’s clear he can still be productive. Do you really want to pass on someone that reliable in this league?
Then again, there is a case for trading him. Despite what Seattle accomplished Sunday, this team is still rebuilding. And signing a 29-year-old to what would likely be a record deal for a safety could impede that rebuild. Look what happened with Marshawn Lynch, Michael Bennett and Kam Chancellor. You could see why the brass would be reluctant to give another aging vet a third contract.
Plus, do the Seahawks really want to reward Thomas’ behavior? His antics this season have been strange at best and disrespectful at worst. Would giving him what he wants just encourage players in the future to act similarly?
I don’t know all the answers here. What I do know is that Thomas needs to be removed from limbo ASAP.
He might be a little nuts, but this situation is flat-out crazy.