Could Ravens be laying foundation to cut Earl Thomas, avoid $10 million guaranteed salary?

USA TODAY Sports

It was one thing to see that Ravens safeties Earl Thomas and Chuck Clark fought in practice on Friday. It was quite another to see that the team sent Thomas home in the aftermath of the fracas.

Thomas has a fully-guaranteed salary of $10 million in 2020. But this doesn’t mean he’s untouchable. PFT has obtained a copy of his contract, and it’s clear that the guarantee for 2020 evaporates if he’s suspended by the Ravens for conduct detrimental to the team.

It’s hardly a foolproof plan; Thomas would fight any such suspension, and the Ravens would have to show that they’ve taken all proper steps to lay the foundation for the suspension, consistent with past practices and other relevant circumstances that would allow the move to be upheld in arbitration. Lose, and the Ravens would owe him the $10 million. Win, and they save both cash and cap space in that amount.

Even if they can avoid the guarantee, cutting Thomas would result in a $5 million cap charge in 2020 and another $10 million in 2021. However, if the suspension sticks, the Ravens would balance out the 2021 cap hit with a $10 million credit.

It’s unclear where the organization stands on Thomas, but the decision to send him home suggests that they aren’t simply making excuses for a star player, like every team does. And that could be a result of the reality that Thomas no longer is regarded as a star player. A league source has informed PFT that, indeed, multiple teammates have become disenchanted with Thomas, and that they no longer regard him as a high-level player.

Depending on the extent to which the locker room at large agrees with that sentiment, keeping Thomas around could have an intangible cost far greater than whatever it ultimately would cost the Ravens to move on.

29 responses to “Could Ravens be laying foundation to cut Earl Thomas, avoid $10 million guaranteed salary?

  1. As a Chiefs fan, I’m glad Baltimore made Thomas that last minute offer and he bailed on KC. Tyrann Mathieu has been awesome for us.

  2. Welcome to Dallas for the vet minimum. Coming home and being around all theses vets will put you on your best behavior, last year he had 2 ints, 2 sacks and 2 force fumbles heck yeah we will take that! Only 31 years old still has two good years left and our end rushers will make him that much better.

  3. All these guys are overpaid. Mathieu at 14 mil, The Ravens have a cap hell situation as well.

    The Chiefs cuts will be vast to avoid cheating the cap in 2 weeks.

  4. The Ravens signed him to a bad contract, but a practice fight usually has to be especially vicious to warrant a suspension. If they try to use it to get out of the contract, you gotta think that would make other players more gun shy about signing with them.

  5. I’ll always prefer an average player who knows he’s average than a good player who thinks he’s great.

  6. It’s amazing how the Ravens convinced Thomas to blow an assignment and overreact to being chewed out to support their nefarious money-saving scheme.

    Those evil NFL owners and GMs are always tricking players into attacking teammates, doing drugs, swinging helmets, bailing on games, robbing parties, choking their girlfriends, etc., to create excuses to justify taking away the payer’s hard-earned money . . .

  7. Memo to Ravens: Cut … your … losses. Trust me, it will only get worse with this guy. Earl will never change.

  8. C’mon Florio. That’s too much. Thomas’s behavior is his own choice. The way arbitration works, it will have to be a slam dunk case to void the 10 mil. If that happens, it’s all on Thomas.

  9. Difficult to prove conduct detrimental to the team for in facility behavior. It just never really happens.

  10. If the raven try stiffing Thomas I think he appeals and wins arbitration.

    Look at it this way.

    lets say his chance of winning Arbitration is 60%

    70% = you owe him $10MM and get no playing time, and in addition have to find a new safety who you also must pay. Lets say you have someone, and then have to find another serviceable replacement for that guy for $1,500,000.

    30% = you win and owe him nothing. You still need to start someone, and come up woth a replacement, say at $1,500,000

    The cost to you is 10 *.7 = 7MM

    The gain = 10 * .3 = 3MM

    Total expected cost = 4MM thrown away
    PLUS 1.5MM (for the replacement of the guy who is now teh starter) = 5.5MM AND a decline in performance at safety (assuming ET is still better than whoever you have as a backup)

    Total cost is 5.5MM AND a decline in performance at safety for one year.

    I don’t think its worth trying to suspend him unless you think you have a much better chance of winning the arbitrartion hearing.

  11. Why in every one of these articles does some doofus from Dallas say “come to the Cowboys”? When will the delusion that every potential free agent wants to play for the Cowboys end? Were they even in the playoffs last year?

  12. Going to be hard to argue his conduct was detrimental to the team – it was just a fight after all.
    That said, he did some great work as a lead blocker for Henry last January – maybe he can switch to fullback and play for TEN?

  13. freakylj8 says:
    August 22, 2020 at 10:59 am
    If the Ravens can get out from the ET contract, is Eric Berry an option?
    ———–
    Oh please, please, please as a Chiefs fan yes go sign Eric Berry. Then we can watch the Ravens hold a roster spot open for a player that will be day to day for 16 games. Who knows you might even get 2 or 3 games out of him if you’re lucky.

  14. Lol Purpleguy, maybe you didn’t pay attention this offseason hence why we signed McCoy , Poe, Griffen, Aldon Smith, HaHa Clinton-Dix and others. Not to mention Thomas has always expressed a desire to play for the Cowboys. So whom is the doofus?

  15. purpleguy says:
    August 22, 2020 at 2:42 pm
    Why in every one of these articles does some doofus from Dallas say “come to the Cowboys”? When will the delusion that every potential free agent wants to play for the Cowboys end? Were they even in the playoffs last year?
    —————————-
    The hack media, in its infinite laziness, always has teams that it pushes, no matter how long ago the team’s actual accomplishments. Thus the ad infinitum, ad nauseum articles and comments every off-season about “come to the Cowboys” (last Super Bowl, 1995 season), “odds are he’ll be a YANKEE” (last World Series, 2009), “join the Celtics/Lakers” (I’m too lazy to look it up). It’s easier to plug in the same old names than to do any actual research or thinking about where a player will find the best combination of fit, opportunity, and after-tax money.
    ————————————
    cowboyszcali–

    Even when used properly, “whom” sounds pretentious, and you didn’t use it properly. “Who” is correct.

  16. intrafinesse says:
    August 22, 2020 at 12:25 pm
    If the raven try stiffing Thomas I think he appeals and wins arbitration..

    I don’t think its worth trying to suspend him unless you think you have a much better chance of winning the arbitrartion hearing.
    ————————————————
    Playing on a team without a cancerous player= priceless.

  17. Wesley says:
    August 22, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Seahawks
    _____________________________

    Just traded for a safety in case you haven’t been paying attention. And have other promising safeties right now. Unless it’s for a one-day retirement signing or one of the others goes out w/ a severe injury or Covid diagnosis, Seattle isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

  18. Mr. mazblast, when you say “whom” sounds pretentious—even when correctly
    used—whom are you citing? I’ve never heard of proper English grammar inherently coming off as pretentious

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