Earl Thomas, Ravens Agree to 4-Year Contract Worth Reported $55 Million

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas walks on the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
John Froschauer/Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens added a Super Bowl champion to their secondary Wednesday when they agreed to a deal with former Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Thomas signed a four-year deal worth $55 million that includes $32 million guaranteed and $22 million paid in the first nine months. 

Thomas had been connected to the Cleveland Browns prior to agreeing to a contract with the Ravens. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Cleveland was "feeling good" about signing the Pro Bowl safety. 

The 2018 campaign was the last on Thomas' prior contract, although Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported in March 2018 the Seahawks "would like to do a long-term deal" with the safety. That turned out not to be the case, and his departure comes after plenty of off-field headlines.

Thomas said during a Pro Bowl practice he didn't want to put his body on the line in 2018 without the security of a long-term deal, per NFL Network's Jane Slater:

Jane Slater @SlaterNFL

Why #Seahawks S Earl Thomas told me he won’t return to Seattle without a contract extension and what he was thinking when he walked into the Cowboys locker room #earlthomas #ProBowl https://t.co/lbcs1pWsnf

He also tweeted a message in June saying he wouldn't attend minicamp or team activities without taking care of the contract situation:

Earl Thomas @Earl_Thomas


Despite those previous developments, Thomas took the field for the Seahawks in the early portion of the 2018 campaign. However, his season was cut short when he fractured his leg in a Week 4 game against the Arizona Cardinals and then made an obscene gesture toward his team's sideline as he was carted off the field.

Adam Schefter of ESPN cited a source who said the gesture was intended for the organization as a whole and not just head coach Pete Carroll or a specific person after he wasn't traded or given a contract extension before the season.

"It also appears as though Thomas' time with the Seahawks is over," Schefter wrote at the time. "They won't have to decide until after this season, but the Seahawks are not expected to use their franchise tag on Thomas this winter, allowing him to leave Seattle, league sources told ESPN."

The former Texas Longhorn also made waves after Seattle's Christmas Eve win over the Dallas Cowboys in the 2017 season when he went toward the Dallas locker room and told Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, "If ya'll have the chance, come get me," per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.

He discussed the Cowboys moment in the aforementioned video with Slater, explaining he was a fan of the team growing up.

The drama defined some of Thomas' latter tenure with the Seahawks, but it doesn't change the fact Baltimore is getting one of the best safeties of his generation. He is a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time First Team All-Pro selection and will be only 30 years old throughout the 2019 campaign, suggesting there could still be prime production to come even after a serious injury.

The Ravens have been hit hard by departures on defense already this offseason. Linebacker Za'Darius Smith reportedly agreed to a deal with the Green Bay Packers, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. C.J. Mosley will sign with the New York Jets, per Rapoport

Bringing in Thomas fills the safety void left when Baltimore released Eric Weddle last week.

Thomas has 28 career interceptions as a ball-hawking safety but also brings a hard-hitting presence at the back end of the defense. He helped the Seahawks win Super Bowl 48 and reach Super Bowl 49 and will look to help his new team to its first playoff win since the 2014 season.