Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has made it clear that he won’t be showing up in Seattle without a new deal, and that without a new deal he wants a trade to a new team. The Seahawks aren’t likely to budge.
As one league source recently explained it to PFT, Seahawks owner Paul Allen doesn’t get emotional or worried about the potential absence of a player who fails to show up while under contract. Three years ago, safety Kam Chancellor held out into the regular season in an effort to get a new deal, and the Seahawks didn’t blink.
Eventually, Chancellor showed up after missing a pair of regular-season games, with no new deal — and with no relief from the tens of thousands in fines he racked up while staying away from the team in violation of his contract. (Two years later, Chancellor received a new contract.)
The Seahawks aren’t expected to handle this case any differently, because Allen isn’t expected to react to the player’s absence any differently. They’ll wait for a trade offer that is deemed suitable for Thomas, or they’ll wait for Thomas.
At a base salary of $8.5 million, he’ll lose $500,000 for each regular-season game he skips. After missing two or three games without the Seahawks doing anything, he’ll have to decide whether to continue to watch his money disappear, a half-million dollars at a time. Eventually, he’ll need to decide whether to show up in time to get credit for the contract year, allowing himself to become a free agent in 2019.
It’s unknown what the Seahawks want in trade for Thomas, but the team realizes that, if he finishes his contract and leaves next year, his departure will count toward the team’s potential haul of compensatory draft picks.
That doesn’t mean Thomas shouldn’t try to get more. But if withholding services simply doesn’t move the needle for ownership, a holdout by a player under contract ultimately won’t work. And Thomas was there to see what happened when Chancellor tried to get more by staying away.