Trade rumors regarding Seattle Seahawks All Pro free safety Earl Thomas have been widespread since late December when he reportedly told Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett to, “come get me”, and this week is bringing a fresh batch of speculation. The Seahawks started their voluntary offseason workout program on Monday, and Thomas’ absence has done nothing but raise the volume on the trade rumors.
According to @BrockESPN, Earl Thomas was not at voluntary workouts yesterday Discussing now on @710ESPNSeattle.— Mike Salk, 710 ESPN (@TheMikeSalk) April 17, 2018
The relevance of Thomas not reporting for voluntary workouts is that, as others have reported, Thomas has threatened a holdout during training camp if he does not receive a new contract before then.
Yes, it's just April. And it is voluntary. Yet Earl Thomas skipping start of offseason workouts after saying he may hold out this year is noteworthy. And these #Seahawks are already full of notes this offseason https://t.co/n6Xb67Blee @thenewstribune— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) April 18, 2018
And those two facts have combined to reignite the trade rumors surrounding Thomas. In particular, Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas has been one of the regulars when it comes to reporting a potential trade of Thomas, and he’s back at it again.
Earl Thomas reportedly skipped vol workouts Monday per @BrockESPN - now my man @RapSheet & I just need to figure out if #Cowboys make trade call to #Seahawks or other way around. https://t.co/LkTnOD1xxN— mike fisher ✭ (@fishsports) April 17, 2018
So, how big a deal is Thomas not showing up for offseason workouts? At first glance it might appear to be a big deal, but a quick glance around the NFC West reveals that he’s not the only defensive star in the division who isn’t participating in his team’s offseason program.
The biggest name of note in the division not present for offseason workouts is, of course, three time All Pro, four time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.
DL Aaron Donald skips start of Rams' voluntary workouts. https://t.co/EwIvO1EVMU— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) April 17, 2018
Donald, of course, is no stranger to skipping team activities, having skipped OTAs last offseason as well as holding out for the entirety of the Rams 2017 training camp, only reporting to the team the day before their Week 1 opener. Then, in spite of having skipped OTAs and all of training camp, Donald performed at a level so high that he won the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. So, it doesn’t appear that skipping training camp hurt him too much last season.
Now, down in the Bay Area, the rival San Francisco 49ers are missing one of their defensive stars for voluntary workouts as well, though that is for different reasons.
Statement from 49ers on Reuben Foster, who will not attend the start of voluntary workouts tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/8qOg6fMGst— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) April 16, 2018
It turns out, the only NFC West team whose unquestioned defensive star was at voluntary workouts was the Arizona Cardinals, where Chandler Jones had the following to say about the “voluntary” nature of the offseason program.
Yes, the start of offseason workouts for teams are voluntary, but Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones shared his view of that: "Stuff like this, it's not mandatory but it’s mandartory if you want to be good. If you want to go into camp, if you... https://t.co/sXQHlVsL8Q— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) April 4, 2018
Jones, it appears, spent enough time with the New England Patriots for some of Bill Belichick to rub off, and now he appears to be taking on a leadership role with the Cardinals. That’s a good thing for Arizona, what with how much they are paying him, and leaves the Cardinals as the only NFC West team with their defensive leader in house at the start of the offseason program.
Thus, with three out of four NFC West teams missing a star defensive player for the beginning of the offseason program, I’ll simply leave off with the following.
So no Earl Thomas at Seahawks workouts, no Aaron Donald at Rams workouts and no Reuben Foster for the 49ers, but Chandler Jones has reported for duty for Arizona.— John Gilbert (@SeahawksMachine) April 17, 2018
Might as well go ahead and hand the 2018 NFC West title to the Cardinals. That's how the offseason works right?