Earl Thomas is now a free agent. And the Seahawks should absolutely sign him...
...to a one-day contract – in the future - when his career is over so he can retire as a Seahawk.
If you missed the news, Earl was released by the Baltimore Ravens today for conduct detrimental to the team after allegedly punching a teammate during Friday’s practice. The move is clearly not just related to one incident, since the Ravens are having to take a $15 million hit to the salary cap either this season, or spread out over the next two years.
For those keeping score, that’s now two straight messy breakups with former teams, if you include the less-than-friendly gesture he made toward Pete Carroll a couple years ago. (Which I think was wrong – but shouldn’t prevent him from one day being inducted into the Ring of Honor. Time heals all wounds.)
At 31 years old, Earl Thomas might still have a few fantastic seasons left. He might even sign with a Seahawks rival, which makes me wince at the prospect of a Niners secondary with him and Richard Sherman. The Dallas Cowboys are considered a frontrunner for his services, which means the Hawks could also see him in Week 3 this year.
But for all the instability Earl has shown on-and-off the field the past couple years – and I’ll let you revisit the sordid details from his personal life that were made public this offseason – there’s an even better reason for not signing him now.
The Seahawks simply do not need him.
At full health, the Hawks once again have what should be one of the most dangerous secondaries in the league. And the safety combination of Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs has me legitimately excited for the first time since Earl and Kam Chancellor were here – and let me remind you, it’s been FIVE years since Earl and Kam played at least 11 games together in a single season.
And yes, the original Legion of Boom was extra special because it was homegrown. But it doesn’t negate the potential of this new group to being something truly special too – at the very least for one championship season.
Just think for a second about the personal motivations of each of these guys: Shaquill Griffin is in a contract year. Quinton Dunbar needs to give everyone a reason to talk about him that doesn’t involve what happened in Florida. Quandre Diggs played just five regular season games for the Seahawks last season, most of them through injuries, and now he says he’s healthy. Tre Flowers is trying to prove that the end of last year was just part of a sophomore slump.
And then there’s Jamal Adams who’s already a first-team All Pro at just 24 years old. A player who is single-handedly bringing a swagger back to a secondary that’s sorely needed it the last few years.
By most accounts, we’re hearing the Seahawks defense start to chirp in practice again. The new pieces are clearly already having an impact on the confidence this group plays with on a day-to-day basis. And while we won’t see them up-close for another three weeks, I have a feeling that we’re about to witness a group that takes the league by storm.
I certainly don’t speak for all Seahawks fans. But I personally wish Earl Thomas the best. And I do hope that he’s one day welcomed back at CenturyLink Field with open arms.
But right now, the more pressing question is not whether to sign Earl. It’s what to name this current secondary that’s about to leave a new legacy in Seahawks history.