The standstill between the Seahawks and All-Pro safety Earl Thomas has already reached the territory of ugly but it could get even worse:
Earl Thomas fines on this 17th day of his preseason holdout+missing June minicamp are up to $1,239,000. Again, here's why precedent with Kam Chancellor in 2015 suggests #Seahawks will collect from Thomas, too https://t.co/ENzfpjYqj2 @thenewstribune— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) August 16, 2018
Per the CBA, teams can fine a player $40,000 per day for missing training camp. After five days, the team can tack on an additional 15% of the player’s prorated bonus and 1% more for each day after. So far, Earl Thomas has racked up over $1.2 million in fines including missing the mandatory minicamp. Now, it’s the team’s choice whether or not to collect on the fines but recent Seahawks history certainly says they will:
If Kam Chancellor’s holdout from 2015 is any precedent, the Seahawks will be collecting all those fines from Thomas.
A league source with knowledge of Thomas’ situation with the Seahawks now and with Chancellor’s with the team in 2015 said the Seahawks collected all of $1 million-plus in fines from Chancellor.
“Every dime,” the source said.
In the case with Kam Chancellor, he missed two games into the 2015 season which meant that he missed two game checks. Those game checks are not team fines, they’re just lost game earnings. If Thomas extends his holdout into the season, he could be looking at losing 1/17th of his salary or $500,000 lost each week he’s not playing. Because there has literally been zero buzz about the two sides even working on an extension, we can expect that Thomas will likely continue this holdout.
Thomas is due $8.5 million but in order for that to be guaranteed, he must be on the active roster before week one begins on September 9th. Earl Thomas made it clear in his article he wrote for the Players Tribune that he has no intentions of returning without an extension. The Seahawks have shown no signs that they plan to extend Thomas so a resolution that sees Thomas remain in Seattle seems very unlikely. So naturally, it all returns back to the Dallas Cowboys, the team where Earl Thomas has publicly asked Seattle to trade him.
It has continued to be one of the most bizarre topics of the offseason with so many dots to connect but no pencil to do so. We know there is mutual interest, the Cowboys reportedly offered their third-round pick for Earl Thomas this past spring. The Seahawks never answered the offer as they were hoping for a sweeter deal. There have been countless articles published with the speculation of this trade and what has to happen for it to happen.
The Cowboys meanwhile maintain confidence that second-year safety Xavier Woods is their guy at free safety but others aren’t so convinced:
I like Xavier Woods a ton. But man people around here have crowned him king before he has shown anything at FS in an incredibly demanding scheme for that position. He will need time and patience. https://t.co/0pRo3Y6w2F— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) August 14, 2018
In all, the Cowboys have three safeties on the roster with NFL experience. Their starters are pegged to be Woods and Jeff Heath. The only other guy with experience is Kavon Frazier, who is primarily a box safety that contributes mostly on special teams. Why this may be problematic is because not only are Woods and Heath the starters but they are each other’s primary backups as well. It’s the whole flirting with disaster thing because just the other day, Heath had to leave practice early after getting banged up.
Long story short, the Cowboys really need to address the safety position in some form or fashion and they know this. They have three rookies at the bottom of their roster but none have shown anything that will likely be enough to save them from roster cuts on September 1st.
The best available free agents are long gone by now so looking for anything significantly more assuring will not bring results. With all that said about the uneasiness of the safety position, the Cowboys are still not the party under the most pressure here.
Earl Thomas is surely under the most pressure because he could lose half a million dollars for each game he misses. At the same time, Thomas seems willing to wait out the short-term anguish for the ultimate reward of long-term security. At 29, he’s still in his prime and making Pro Bowls but he knows that he’s on borrowed time in a grueling league. This is something that the Seahawks and most definitely the Cowboys know as well.
If the Seahawks aren’t going to extend Earl Thomas but plan to collect on his fines, there will be no harmony left. Even if Thomas caves and returns to the team, he will be extremely disgruntled. It’s time for all three parties to make a few concessions and strike the deal. It just may be the only way to get an ending that is even remotely positive.