Bobby Wagner supports Earl Thomas’ absence from Seahawks workouts

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Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner would love it if Earl Thomas showed up. But he understands perfectly why he hasn’t so far, and supports his teammate’s efforts to get a new contract.

Via Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune, Wagner said during a radio interview on KJR (with former Seahawk Cliff Avril) that the business realities of the NFL made him sympathetic to Thomas’ plight. The decorated safety has stayed away from all offseason workouts, and skipped the team’s mandatory minicamp.

“You’ve got to do what’s right for you,” Wagner said. “Because at the end of the day, whenever you are done they don’t care about you. You’ve got to get what you’ve got to get while you can. Because as soon as you can’t play, . . . ”

At that point, Avril added: “As soon as you get hurt.”

“Yeah,” Wagner replied. “As soon as you can’t play and they don’t want you no more, it’s over. So you’ve got to make the best of your opportunity.”

Thomas is entering the final year of his contract, and is underpaid by any tangible measure. But the Seahawks have also turned over their defense this offseason, with a number of veterans hitting the door. Thus, they might not be as eager to give the 29-year-old Thomas the kind of deal he wants. As a result, Wagner hedged when asked if he expected to see Thomas in camp.

“I mean, I don’t know. It’s up to him and management to figure that out,” Wagner said. “You don’t want to get into a person’s contract. . . . At the end of the day, they are trying to figure out a way to best provide for their family. You are involved, to a certain extent, but he’s trying to take care of his family. And you want him to put himself in the best position to take care of his family. So whatever that looks like, whatever that is, that’s between him and the management.

“Do I hope comes? I do. I hope he comes. But I’m not necessarily focused on that, because I understand both sides. I understand wanting him here. And I understand the business aspect, which is not good for players. Like, we have contracts that don’t necessarily favor us all the time. So you have to do what’s right for you.”

Of course, there’s also the possibility the Seahawks trade Thomas (that chatter hasn’t died down), and let someone else deal with the contractual unpleasantness. And if that happens, they’ll say it was just business.

21 responses to “Bobby Wagner supports Earl Thomas’ absence from Seahawks workouts

  1. Thomas or his agent negotiated his contract. The Seagulls and Thomas both signed it in good faith. Thomas needs to be a man and live up to his end of the bargain. He has two choices. Play the season under the contract he signed, or sit out and forfeit the 8 million dollars he would have earned. Money he will never get back no matter where he signs and for how much.
    Its not like him not being on the field is going to be the difference between the Shehawks making the playoffs or not. Theyre not going to with or without him. A guy that has zero leverage needs to shut up, show up and earn his next contract.

  2. Playing football isn’t supposed to be the lottery. It’s a job. How about you figure out how you’re going to support yourself after you’re done with your job. Greedy bum!

  3. Every player supports every holdout … because it might put more money in their pockets. This is never news.

  4. Underpaid? He only makes $250k less than Harrison Smith, the other all pro safety. Again, stop signing 4 and 5 year contracts. If you want to be the highest paid at your position every year, do 1 and 2 year deals.

  5. ‘At the end of the day, they are trying to figure out a way to best provide for their family.’

    And the $44 million Earl has earned in this contract must barely get them through the day.

  6. Is he “underpaid by any tangible measure”? Thomas has played just 25 out of 32 games the past two years and has shown clear signs of injury breakdown and perhaps aging, meaning he likely won’t resume playing at the All Pro level (which he hasn’t been since 2014) he was at when he signed his previous contract. His cap number, meanwhile, is still good for 4th at his position, and the top 3 includes a guy on the franchise tag (and so is just a one year deal).

    In truth, Thomas knows from the past two years that *his value is likely at its highest it will be* right now. He knows that if he waits until free agency next year, he might have another year of injuries and so greatly hurt his chances of one more *big* payday. He knows he isn’t worth an Eric Berry contract given his likely continued decline, so he’s going to try to sucker someone into rewarding him that way anyways before the entire league realizes it. Although perhaps the league already has…

  7. The shelf life of a football player is much less than any other career. Get as much money as you can so you never have to work another day.

  8. Seattle’s once vaunted D is now average at best. The Rams should EASILY dominate the NFC West.

  9. He’s 29 and the team probably figures he’ll soon be on the decline.
    What is he looking for, and extra 1-2 years? 3 years? I wouldn’t do more than that.
    No need to hold out. Just play well and walk.
    He’ll get a contract elsewhere and get paid for 2-3 more years.

  10. Will there ever be a story where a player DOES not support another player holding out?

  11. Why doesn’t anyone ever say “the team signed a contract and they should live up to it” when a player is cut? No, we expect the players to honor their contracts, but the teams can walk away any time. I know it’s hard to feel sorry for millionaires, but I feel even less sorry for billionaires.

  12. If fans don’t like how much players make, they should stop supporting the league. You spend your money to be entertained. The players provide the entertainment. I don’t understand why there are so many people who are in favor of billionaire’s keeping as much money in their pockets as possible when there are people risking debilitating injuries for the enjoyment of viewers. Do you know how hard it is to work after an NFL career?

  13. Thomas or his agent negotiated his contract. The Seagulls and Thomas both signed it in good faith. Thomas needs to be a man and live up to his end of the bargain. He has two choices. Play the season under the contract he signed, or sit out and forfeit the 8 million dollars he would have earned. Money he will never get back no matter where he signs and for how much.
    Its not like him not being on the field is going to be the difference between the Shehawks making the playoffs or not. Theyre not going to with or without him. A guy that has zero leverage needs to shut up, show up and earn his next contract.
    —————————————————————————————-
    This is the most common and annoying response I hear from people. On one hand they say shut up and play out your contract then on the other hand they say, he should get the most out of his situation.The league is making billions of dollars. When it comes to money I am sure Thomas is not worried about what you think…Most of these guys well be swept under the rug and forgotten when their careers are over, so if the only way to get paid is to hold out, fake an injury or whatever you have to do to get market value for your skill set then do it. Oh and by the way, Steelers pay Bell. If not, you’ll get nothing for him next year.

  14. The main reason people feel sorry for billionaires and not the millionaires risking career/life-threatening injuries to feed their families and provide better situations for the people around them has to be due with race. Teams can walk away from a contract whenever they please, but fans get up in arms over guys wanting to be paid their worth when they outperformed their market value and the CBA went up. It’s insane, but so are people.

  15. If fans don’t like how much players make, they should stop supporting the league. You spend your money to be entertained. The players provide the entertainment. I don’t understand why there are so many people who are in favor of billionaire’s keeping as much money in their pockets as possible when there are people risking debilitating injuries for the enjoyment of viewers. Do you know how hard it is to work after an NFL career?
    =====

    Couldn’t agree more.

    And, no, the average guy has no clue what it takes to be an NFL player.

    If all it took was natural talent, guys like Ryan Leaf and Lawrence Phillips would be HOFrs.

  16. At the end of the day, they are trying to figure out a way to best provide for their family.

    I remember when Latrell Sprewell turned down a 3-year contract for $21M citing it wasn’t enough to feed his family. Thomas has already made enough to support his family for a hundred years unless, like Sprewell, he has wasted all his money.

    He’s also on the back-end of his career. Expecting to get another fat contract now is unrealistic. Also, these players always conveniently forget about the signing bonus, which adds almost another $2M to his contract meaning realistically he’s making closer to $10M.

    By the way, for those who say teams are free to let go of a player whenever and how that’s unfair, the player still gets to keep whatever signing bonus he had. In Earl’s case, it was $9.5M up front. Cry me a river.

  17. Taking care of one’s future is noble. The question is whether Earl Thomas will get what he wants by holding out. Duane Brown, his teammate, tried the same tactic, and wound up losing weeks of pay. The same happened to his teammate Kam Chancellor when he held out a few years back.

  18. Can’t feed their family? Are they eating caviar every meal? I can feed my family, my extended family and half the neighborhood on half his contract. He must be in need of a financial advisor.

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