The disrespect has been noted.
When Earl Thomas returned from his holdout this year and noted the disrespect he felt from the organization for not giving him a contract extension, I felt it was a bit of an exaggeration. When Thomas broke his leg in Week 4 and went on injured reserve, if felt like the Seahawks did catch a — well, let’s just say they were fortunate to not have extended him at that point. Given the performance by the defense in the eight games since, it’s hard to not wonder how accurate Thomas was in his evaluation of that disrespect from the franchise. I’m not sure exactly.
But from the fans who claim that they don’t want to see Thomas return to Seattle, the disrespect is unfathomable. This is a franchise all-time great, who helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl, played in a second Super Bowl on a torn labrum, and has done nothing wrong in his nine-year tenure which included 107 straight regular season games started prior to 2016’s broken leg.
He wanted financial security? He gave a middle finger to the sidelines minutes after breaking his leg again because he saw the result of what happens without that financial security? That hurts your feelings?
Get over it.
From Week 1-Week 4, the Seahawks allowed 204 passing yards per game with a rating allowed of 77.2, fourth-best in the league at that time. They intercepted seven passes, including three by Thomas.
From Week 5-current, the Seahawks are allowing 277 passing yards per game with a rating of 103.1, virtually the same as the awful Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ pass defense. They have five interceptions in twice as many opportunities as with Thomas. By the way, Thomas is still tied for the team-lead in picks this year.
Overall, Seattle’s defense is much worse without Earl Thomas. There’s no metric you can find that says they’re even close to where they were when you have Tedric Thompson starting in place of Thomas. By EPA, they were at worst average, and at best they shutdown the Dallas Cowboys and forced three turnovers. Since then, they are at best well below average, with the only reprieve coming in the forms of the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers. Even against the Niners they allowed over 400 yards passing. I mean, regardless of the score, do you think Thomas would stand for 414 passing yards to Nick Mullens?
It’s incredible that the Seahawks are favorites to make the playoffs and a credit to Russell Wilson and the offense to keep the train moving, as well as another Hall of Fame credited season by Bobby Wagner to hold together the defense. Plus of course Michael frickin’ Dickson.
There is just a clear and undeniable dropoff with Thomas and there’s no good reason for anyone to pretend otherwise. You want Seattle to give no offer to Thomas in free agency because he’s “too old”? He’s 30 next year. Ed Reed played until he was 35 and made five Pro Bowls after turning 30. Rod Woodson made four Pro Bowls at free safety after turning 34. Thomas is a Hall of Fame safety too, so there’s no reason to think he’s incapable.
The injuries worry you? Well, broken legs heal and the surgery had by Thomas is said to make him stronger than he was before in his left tibia with a recovery time that should have him set to impress teams by free agency.
You don’t like the attitude? Interesting, it’s the same attitude that makes him a Hall of Fame player to begin with. You get the good crazy with the bad crazy and “the bad crazy” manifests itself in some weird quotes and a middle finger. That’s not that bad of a bad crazy.
Maybe Thomas doesn’t want to play for the Seahawks again. Maybe he just wants to be shown love. I can’t imagine he watched yesterday’s game and wanted to join Richard Sherman in San Francisco though. He could want to test things out with the Cowboys, if they’d have him or want to pay him what he wants. And only one team has the option of a franchise or transition tag.
The Seahawks defense is not good without Thomas. It’s not good with Thompson. They’re capable, but not good. Where would they have been with Thomas these last eight games? 7-5 still? 9-3? 10-2? First place? I can’t write that off.
I can’t write him off either.