Earl Thomas skipping Seahawks voluntary workouts surprises no one


Earl Thomas missing voluntary workouts this week means nothing regarding his future with the Seahawks. The key word is “voluntary”.

Earl Thomas hasn’t made it to the Seahawks voluntary workouts this week. Uh oh. That’s a sure sign he’s gone, right? Sure, if Gronkowski is gone, then Thomas is too. I mean, Gronk skipped voluntary workouts with the Patriots this week, so clearly he won’t be with New England in 2018. It follows exactly the same logic.

Of course their situation isn’t the same. Gronk hasn’t been the subject of trade rumors for months. Earl Thomas is legitimately on the trade block, and that is a key difference. There are two key similarities, though. The first is that word “voluntary”.

Back in January, Earl Thomas stated that he might hold out for the season. Note the modifier, “might”. As reported by the great Bob Condotta in the Seattle Times, Seahawks general manager John Schneider said that he’s been told Thomas will not hold out.

"But asked if he has any reason to believe Thomas would hold out, Schneider said Thursday “No, I don’t. I don’t. He has not said he would hold out. His representatives told me that.’’Schneider was a little more vague on if Thomas will indeed remain with the team in 2018.Asked if Thomas will be on the team when the season begins, Schneider said “he is right now. He’s on our roster,’’ and responded to a follow-up about whether he will be on the roster in September that “I hope so. I hope he is. He’s under contract.’’"

Now that may not give you a ton of confidence going into the season. Schneider wasn’t exactly emphatic in saying, “I hope so,” was he? Give him this, though; he’s being honest.

Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 08: Kam Chancellor #31 celebrates a broken pass play with Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of a game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

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Seahawks can’t afford to repeat the past with Earl Thomas

Schneider isn’t going to guarantee that Earl Thomas will be on the Seahawks for 2018 because he can’t see the future, as much as he’d like. If he could, the Seahawks wouldn’t have guaranteed Kam Chancellor‘s contract for 2018, now would they? He’d missed 11 games in the three seasons prior to his big contract extension, so there was some basis for caution. And now it’s very possible that Chancellor may never play football again.

That being said, when one of your very best players says he needs this to continue with your team, you have to make concessions. There was certainly no reason to expect a possible career-ending injury to Chancellor. Regardless, you can be sure that Chancellor’s contract is on top of the paper stack when the Seahawks debate an extension for Earl Thomas.

Another contract they’re certainly keeping is mind is Richard Sherman’s. When Seattle released the All-Pro corner, they only had to eat $2.2 million for 2018. Considering that the trade talks for Earl Thomas have gone about as well as the talks for Sherman, the Seahawks are understandably leery of being forced into a decision based more on money than football.

Back to that second similarity: both Earl Thomas and Rob Gronkowski are applying leverage. Both players want contract extensions. Both are sitting out voluntary – remember, voluntary – workouts to send a message to their respective teams. Listen, Tom Brady sat out this week too. Missing a week of workouts in April is no reason to hit the panic button. The Seahawks aren’t doing it, and neither should you.