Earl Thomas' Contract Terminated by Ravens; Cowboys, 49ers, Texans Linked

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2020

Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas III works out during an NFL football camp practice, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens have terminated the contract of safety Earl Thomas as a result of an altercation with a teammate at practice, the team announced Sunday.

Baltimore said the decision was made because of "personal conduct that has adversely affected" the team.

After the Ravens announced Thomas' exit, the safety posted a message on his Instagram account thanking the team for his time in Baltimore, via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network:

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

From Earl Thomas on Instagram https://t.co/x7QCQ5odfZ

ESPN's Adam Schefter previously reported the team would either cut or trade Thomas after the incident. Schefter noted the Dallas Cowboys are the favorites to land Thomas if he is cut by Baltimore.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans are also teams to watch when it comes to Thomas.

Thomas was sent home from practice Friday after a fight with fellow safety Chuck Clark, per Tom Peliserro of NFL Network. He was told to stay home Saturday despite the team returning to practice.

The veteran attempted to explain his side of the story on Instagram, noting the confrontation was a result of busted coverage during practice:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Earl Thomas responds via Instagram, acknowledging his altercation with teammate Chuck Clark began with a mental error by Thomas in practice Friday. https://t.co/hPXkjKmTpw

Field Yates @FieldYates

Earl Thomas posted this video to his Instagram of the coverage breakdown that led to the altercation with fellow S Chuck Clark. He works to clear the air on the matter in this post: https://t.co/RK5GnkpqVl https://t.co/Dc4JY5DRwa

Head coach John Harbaugh was upset about the extent of the fight, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:

"It just lasted longer than it needed to for me. You're going to have these things in training camp. I think you're going to have tempers flare, sure. It happens every training camp, especially right about now, probably. But I don't like them when they extend like that and eat into our reps, and we're going to have to find out why and make sure that doesn't happen."

The team's leadership council made its voice heard by telling the organization "they would prefer Thomas not be around," per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. La Canfora added teammates "strongly support" Clark in this scenario.

Friday reportedly was not the first time Thomas had been disciplined by the team. According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Thomas had been fined "several times" since training camp began earlier this month.

Though Thomas was signed through 2022 with $10 million fully guaranteed salary for 2020, his guarantee could be voided for conduct detrimental to the team, per Florio.

Baltimore also has depth at the position with second-year player DeShon Elliott, while free agent Tony Jefferson could also be an option after spending last season with the team.

Thomas is still an elite player when on the field. He earned his seventh Pro Bowl selection last year and has been named first-team All-Pro three times. He was also a key part of the Seattle Seahawks winning the Super Bowl after the 2013 season.

The 31-year-old finished last season with 49 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.