Earl Thomas is hinting at a possible holdout.
Who knows what Kam Chancellor is hinting at.
Just two more issues for a Seattle Seahawks offseason that is already full of them. And it’s still just January.
Thomas used an ESPN interview at the Pro Bowl this week to declare “I definitely don’t see myself going out there unsigned” to play in 2018 — that is, while still under his current Seattle contract that has a final year remaining on it.
“I want to finish my career there,” Thomas told ESPN after Thursday’s Pro Bowl practice in Orlando, Florida.
“I definitely don’t see myself going out there not signed. But I’m going to continue to work my butt off and enjoy this process at the Pro Bowl.
“As far as my future in Seattle, I think if they want me, you know, money talks. We’ll get something accomplished. Other than that, I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
Chancellor has been taking it easy with his wife in Italy. That’s judging by cute photos the 29-year-old strong safety has posted this month on his social media accounts. He sustained a season-ending neck injury in November, leaving his career in doubt.
Friday, he raised a few eyebrows around Puget Sound about his future with a post on Instagram that showed an illustration of Chancellor, with a jacket on and a backpack slung over his shoulder, walking next to a large Seahawks logo.
He left that image without elaboration or comment up for all sorts of interpretation — especially on a team that had its cornerstone running back retire two years ago on social media. Or did you already forget Marshawn Lynch hanging his cleats up over a telephone wire on Twitter during the Super Bowl?
Chancellor will have $12 million guaranteed to him in 2018 if he is on the Seahawks’ roster five days after the Feb. 4 Super Bowl. His salary cap charge to the team this year would be $9.6 million.
If he retires before that five days after the Super Bowl, he walks away from that $12 million. Seattle would be left with a salary cap charge for him of $7.5 million for this year.
If the Seahawks release him, their cap charge is for both the guaranteed money and his three years of proration left on his signing bonus through 2020, the end of the contract. That’s $19.5 million. So Seattle is not going to cut the soul of its locker room.
If Chancellor, who turns 30 in April, does not retire, the Seahawks could carry him on their roster into next season on their physically-unable-to-perform list. They could let his health and status play out toward 2019, since they will be paying him anyway.
Thomas, a three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl selection, turns 30 one month after Chancellor does this spring. He has been talking about wanting an extension from the Seahawks since August.
Thomas mentioned his desire for a new deal on the day Seattle gave teammate Chancellor, his partner at safety, his contract extension with $25 million guaranteed last summer.
“I was watching very closely,” Thomas said Aug. 1. “You want to see, because I feel we are all right around the same age. You know, they brought a lot of new guys in.
“If the writing is on the wall, you know, I want to be able to see it. Because I know I’ll be next. … And when that time comes, it comes.”
It’s arrived — at least for Thomas.
On Christmas Eve, immediately after he and the Seahawks won at Dallas in the next-to-last game of the 2017 season, Thomas went to the Cowboys’ locker room and told Dallas coach Jason Garrett to “come get me.” Back in the Seahawks’ locker room a few minutes later, Thomas explained he meant he wanted to play for the Cowboys when “Seattle kicks me to the curb.”
He said Thursday not been told by his agent of any discussions with the Seahawks about an extension.
The last time a Seahawk held out, it was Chancellor. He missed all of training camp and the first two games of the 2015 season. And his holdout was fruitless. Two years still remained on his contract at the time, and the Seahawks gave him nothing until two years later. General manager John Schneider has set as a precedent the desire to hold off any talks or movement toward extensions until the final years of core players’ deals.
Thomas is entering the final year of his contract. But it’s still 7 1/2 months from the season starting. The Seahawks have so many other issues to take care of between now and then — including incorporating a new offensive coordinator, a new defensive coordinator, two other new top assistants and what is expected to be new offensive linemen and running backs in coach Pete Carroll’s desire to reinvigorate the run game. At least that many newcomers will be here by summer.
Amid all that, Thomas obviously wants to make sure his concerns don’t get lost.
What’s Thomas want? Well, he sure noticed last offseason when Kansas City re-signed safety Eric Berry to an extension with $40 million guaranteed.
“There ain’t never,” Thomas said in August, “enough of that.”