Did you hear? Earl Thomas is holding out and wants an extension or to be traded.
That’s the extent of what the Seattle Seahawks safety said in his carefully-crafted Players Tribune article on Thursday, which could also be seen as an attempt to get more fans on his side and apply pressure on the Seahawks to do something. I don’t have the feeling that it will work.
There are not any revelations in the piece, which is entitled “Here’s What’s Actually Going On”; by the end of the read, I thought to myself, “That is what I thought was actually going on.” Thomas wants job security past 2018 or he wants to go to another team and probably assumes that team will give him said security. Thomas doesn’t explicitly say that he wants the team he’s traded to give him an extension, but it should be implied since he spends so much time talking about how what’s actually important is being taken care of in a sport that can end your career in a single play.
Thomas also details how he learned how brutal this “business” can be when the Seahawks cut Lofa Tatupu following the 2010 season. I do not think that was a business decision. Tatupu never played in the NFL again. It was a sports decision. They also brought him back as a coach in 2015, so there wasn’t bad blood there.
He also talks about how he signed his contract with the Legion of Boom in mind, and now Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor are gone. Certainly neither of those departures were what Seattle wanted, but Sherman tore his Achilles and Chancellor had to retire with a neck injury. More sports decisions. And if Thomas brings up signing a deal with the LOB in mind, what does he have in mind with the extension that he wants the Seahawks to give him? Should they feel assured that he’s okay with signing for three more years to bring along Shaquill Griffin, Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson, or anyone else in the secondary?
And if Thomas makes a mistake in the piece, it could be blaming the organization for allegedly making him look bad in the public eye, while also acknowledging that he doesn’t have any specific examples of that:
I’m really grateful to the players and fans who have offered their support — because without that, this process, it leaves you feeling alone. Honestly, I think one of the reasons that teams treat players like they do is because they can get away with it. They’re good at placing blame on the player who’s sitting out, by making the entire process become very public and very negative toward their reputation. It’s like — I have no way of even knowing what they might be telling the press or my teammates about me. And for someone like myself, who doesn’t usually talk … that makes you feel kind of helpless.
I do not think that NFL franchises are to be trusted under all circumstances. I think many teams probably do treat players poorly. Maybe even the Seahawks make players feel that way. I just don’t know what Earl is talking about here. I can’t recall times that Pete Carroll or John Schneider or Paul Allen have gone to the media and placed “blame” on Thomas or made the public mad at him for holding out.
Sorry to say that holding out is always, by nature, going to piss off a large contingent of fans. It is an active decision by a player and a passive decision by the team. Seattle didn’t “do” anything. They can simply sit back and say, “Hey, we have an agreement” and that’s true. I also support any player’s decision to holdout, that’s their right, and I support Earl Thomas. But it doesn’t mean that I am against Seattle either. I also support the Seahawks.
You can have it both ways.
Frankly, I know why Thomas wrote this piece, but I also don’t know why he did. I don’t think he has helped himself with the article and I don’t see why the team is going to rush to a phone to call him or the Dallas Cowboys to make a move today. I imagine the Seahawks are still comfortable waiting until the day comes when Thomas, like Kam Chancellor three seasons ago, eventually reports because he has to if he wants to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. They aren’t going to trade him for less than what they think he’s worth. They aren’t going to give him more than what they think he’s worth.
And that’s another thing that Thomas left out: What he thinks he’s worth.