John Schneider: Seahawks aren't trying to trade Earl Thomas
Another indication a trade isn’t likely came Thursday, when general manager John Schneider said in an interview with Seattle’s Sports Radio 950 KRJ that the team isn’t trying to move its All-Pro free safety. Specifically, he was asked if the Seahawks are still “actively” looking for a trade partner.
“Nope, not actively looking for that,” Schneider responded. “Nope.”
Asked if the Seahawks had looked to trade Thomas, Schneider said it’s his job to consider everything.
“The way to answer that is that we’re not doing our job if we don’t listen to everybody,” he said. “If you guys could sit next to me throughout the draft, you’d be blown away with what you hear. You have to be ready to make decisions all the way through whether it’s the first round, third round or fifth round with players that are on their restricted tenders that want to be moved, so there’s names being thrown around all the time.”
That’s been a common response from Schneider to questions about a possible Thomas trade, which has been one of the more pressing topics of Seattle’s offseason. It has persisted for several reasons.
Thomas is entering the final year of his contract and at one point mentioned the possibility of holding out if he didn’t get a new deal, though his stance on that may have changed. This comes at a time when the Seahawks are reshaping their roster at the expense of some of their star players such as Richard Sherman (released), Michael Bennett (traded) and Jimmy Graham (left in free agency), to name a few. The Dallas Cowboys also have known interest in Thomas. ESPN’s Todd Archer reported that the Cowboys may continue to pursue Thomas before the 2018 season.
However, the best chance of a trade almost certainly came and went along with the second day of the draft. That’s because a trade now would have to include 2019 draft picks, which wouldn’t be nearly as valuable to the Seahawks since they can no longer draft an immediate replacement.
But it’s worth noting that at no point have the Seahawks slammed the door on a possible trade.
The next question: Will the Seahawks extend Thomas before the season? Schneider was noncommittal when asked Thursday if he foresees any talks with Thomas’ representatives about a new deal in the near future.
“That’s hard to tell. I mean, he’s under contract for next year,” Schneider said. “From a timing standpoint, that’s not something I’m going to get into. But obviously, everybody loves Earl. We all know he’s a Hall of Fame-caliber player. Like I said, he’s the second player we ever picked here. He’s just been a huge inspiration all the way through. The guys a tempo-setter at practice and overcame his injury, and he’s been doing great ever since.”
Thomas was the NFL’s highest-paid safety in terms of annual average when he signed a four-year, $40 million extension in 2014, but he’s since fallen to sixth, with teammate Kam Chancellor ($12 million) among those who have surpassed him. He first raised the possibility of holding out in an interview with ESPN from the Pro Bowl in January, but Schneider said last month that he’s been told by Thomas’ representatives that he won’t hold out.
Is there any concern on Schneider’s part that Thomas’ attitude may change if he doesn’t get a new deal before the season?
“I don’t think so,” Schneider said. “He plays the game 100 miles an hour. He only knows how to do this in one manner, and that’s just all out. So no, I wouldn’t think that would be a factor for him.”
Schneider also said in the KJR interview that the team “would love” to extend left tackle Duane Brown before the season. Brown has one year left on the contract the Seahawks inherited when they acquired him in a trade with the Houston Texans in October. The Seahawks gave up their third-round pick in that deal, which is why Schneider said he considered Brown to be, in a sense, a part of Seattle’s recent draft class.
“We had to keep looking over at that card too right, in the third round, like, ‘OK, he’s part of this too,'” Schneider said. “When we made that move, we were hoping to lock him up, have him finish his career here.”