POLL RESULTS: What do the Seahawks do about Earl Thomas?

Even splits in the voting indicate just how tricky the Pro Bowl free safety’s holdout is for Seattle.

What should the Seattle Seahawks do about their Earl Thomas problem? It seems even the fans aren’t sure.

This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll concerned Seattle’s All-Pro free safety. Thomas, who has patrolled center field for the Seahawks’ secondary ever since being selected in the first round of the 2010 draft, held out from this week’s mandatory minicamp. Thomas, who’s entering the final year of his contract, is seeking a lucrative extension, something the Seahawks seem reluctant to give him.

In his holdout announcement Thomas said he would not attend minicamp or any other team activities until his contract situation was resolved. That means this holdout isn’t over just because minicamp concluded Thursday.

Therefore, this week’s poll asked readers what they thought the Seahawks should do about Thomas. Here’s how you voted:

Add the two together and the vote can’t get much closer. The highest percentage of votes went toward trading Thomas, but that 35 percent was just a smidgen ahead of calling his bluff (33 percent) and giving him an extension (32 percent). I believe this is the closest three-answer poll I’ve conducted since I began doing these more than a year ago.

The narrow margin indicates what a tricky situation this is for the Seahawks. Thomas has arguably been Seattle’s most important defensive player, and he could be the last remnant of the Legion of Boom, depending on what happens with the further evaluations of strong safety Kam Chancellor’s neck injury. But he’s also 29 years old with eight seasons of NFL wear and tear on his body, meaning it’s risky giving him a long-term contract. Other teams know the situation, too, meaning it will be difficult to extract much of a return for Thomas in a trade, despite Thomas continuing to play at a Pro Bowl level.

Not surprisingly, Thomas — along with who was replacing him — was the main subject of conversation during minicamp. Tedric Thompson, a second-year player who was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft and who has a grand total of eight defensive NFL snaps under his belt, was first up at filling in for Thomas at free safety. Veteran Bradley McDougald also saw time at free safety, sliding over from strong safety while another inexperienced second-year player, Delano Hill, came in at strong safety. While the Seahawks believe Thompson and Hill have great potential, it’s asking a lot of those players to try and live up to the standard set by Thomas.

The Seahawks are now off for six weeks before training camp starts up at the end of July, so there’s a window for Seattle either to negotiate an extension with Thomas or to trade him. However, if there are no developments in that time, it’ll mean we have to go through this all over again when training camp starts.

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