The Seahawks had their first win of the season after handing the Cowboys 24-13 in a fairly comfortable home opener at CenturyLink Field. It was a nice win, in which the Seahawks outperformed the Cowboys in all three phases of the game. Chris Carson looked good in the run game, Russ did not make any big mistakes, the defense was humming, turning the ball over and limiting big plays… it was all good.
Most good of all on Sunday? Earl Thomas, the Seahawks All Pro safety who simply dominated the game. And yet in the aftermath of the game we’re still, STILL, talking about how long Earl is going to be a Seahawk, and whether or not we just saw him play his last game in Seattle.
Since Earl told Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to “come get me” after the teams’ clash last winter, rumors have swirled that Earl would be dealt to Dallas, his childhood squad. The teams reportedly entered negotiations on an Earl Thomas trade, but never got close enough to consummate the deal, as Earl is worth an Earl Thomas amount of draft picks, and that’s a sum that can’t be calculated by man (or the Cowboys were never willing to part with a first rounder… whatever).
As the teams came into week 3, Earl was bound to be the story. And with news that he was refusing to practice and might not suit up, it felt again like a trade might be coming. More rumors trickled out Sunday morning that the Chiefs had emerged as a potential trade partner; Atlanta and of course Dallas still loomed as teams that could maybe tempt John Schneider to make a deal.
Thank god they did not, though, as Earl Thomas had himself a game against Dallas. Two acrobatic picks (including a classy bow after the second that got flagged for taunting), while also totally keeping the top on a passing game whose long completion on the day was 20 yards. He also led the team in tackles with seven, and slowed Ezekiel Elliot enough on a big run to give fellow awesome safety Bradley McDougald enough time to catch up and force a fumble.
Earl Thomas is probably the best player on the Seahawks, and that’s been true for the duration of his tenure on the team. He’s the rare first ballot Hall of Fame caliber safety, and he has been particularly crucial in allowing Pete Carroll’s coverage scheme to dominate the NFL for the better part of a decade. We’ve seen just enough of this team without Earl to know how much of a difference he alone makes. It seems ludicrous that the team would not simply cut him a big check to keep playing with the squad indefinitely; their cap situation is not perfect, but there’s room for Earl going forward. Even if they were cap-strapped (again, they aren’t) Earl is the sort of player you make room for: unique, excellent, focused (I love Michael Bennett, lord knows, but there are no “Earl Thomas was tuning out Pete to read Angela Davis” rumors), tenacious, irreplaceable. Pete once described Earl as "the most competitive, gritty guy you could ever imagine,” and that has not changed.
And yet here we are, still dealing with rumors that Earl’s time with the Seahawks is drawing to a close. We’re dealing with him getting fined by the team because he doesn’t want to get hurt in practice during the last year of his contract. We’re dealing with the possibility that the best player on the Seahawks could be ripped away from a fanbase already raw from losing so many other greats over the past year.
Earl Thomas says he was worried about a trade happening this week. Says he heard rumbling during the week. Says even pregame, cowboys coaches came up to him and asked if he was ready for the trade tomorrow.
— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) September 23, 2018
Earl says he just wants to be appreciated. This team would be beyond foolish to not appreciate him (though they did hire Brian Schottenheimer, the first man to ever fall for the Nigerian Prince Scam twice on the same day, so who knows what level of foolishness they’re capable of). They need to not trade Earl Thomas, sit down and hammer out an extension with him, and do it today. Or tomorrow. But not any farther from now than that. The Seahawks at 1-2 are an okay team, with a good amount of upside (that is of course capped by the aww shucks idiocy of their offensive coordinator… but I digress). They have some winnable games coming up, including next week’s clash against Arizona. Between now and then they should pay Earl Thomas all the money.