By John Boyle
The Seahawks biggest goal this offseason was not to add talent, but rather retain the players who helped them win the first Super Bowl in franchise history. With both Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas heading into the final year of their rookie contracts, the two All-Pro defensive backs are big parts of accomplishing that offseason goal.
According to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora, the Seahawks are working towards a deal that would make Richard Sherman the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback. Both sides are hopeful a deal can get done before the draft, which begins May 8, with the contract likely worth more than $13 million per season, though according to the report, the Seahawks are reluctant to go over $14 million annually.
Darrell Revis, who signed a one-year, $12 million deal with New England, is currently the highest-paid corner.
The news comes as something of a surprise, not because the Seahawks are trying to extend Sherman’s contract, but because re-signing Thomas figured to be a slightly bigger priority, and also an easier contract to get done because A. the NFL’s top safeties are paid less money than the top cornerbacks, and B. Thomas currently represents a $5.5 million salary cap hit in 2014, so extending him will have little, if any, impact on this year’s cap (even if Thomas was making $10 million or so this season, a good chunk of that would likely be in the form of a signing bonus, minimizing the cap hit in Year 1).
If Sherman’s deal comes first, that’s less likely a sign that things aren’t going to happen with Thomas, but rather that there is a much greater chance of getting both deals done before the 2014 season.
UPDATE: this contract may not quite be as close to finished as initially thought. According to ProFootballtalk.com, the sides are talking, but things aren’t as close as reported earlier. That by no means it won’t happen, just that one side of the negotiations wants to get the message out that it could still be a while. Stay tuned.