Even after only playing four games this past season, now former Seahawks safety Earl Thomas was a sought after commodity in free agency. He has long been one of the top safeties in the NFL, having already been a six-time Pro-Bowler and a three-time All-Pro and being the anchor of the “Legion of Boom” defense in Seattle, Thomas was going to get paid despite the injury. He has now found a new home, agreeing to a four-year, $55 million deal with the Ravens, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Schefter is also reporting that the deal will include $32 million guaranteed and that will include $22 million in the first nine months of the deal.
Baltimore is taking advantage of having Lamar Jackson on a rookie deal and have been working to keep their top defense in tact, having already given Tavon Young an extension and exercising an option on Brandon Carr.
They did release Eric Weddle earlier this offseason, but they have somehow found a way to improve the safety position in my opinion, despite Weddle being one of the top safeties in the league.
Of course with Thomas nearly being 30-years old and coming off of a leg fracture last season there is some risk involved with this deal, but before the injury, Thomas was still playing at an elite level and had yet to see any real dropoff in his play, despite him likely not wanting to be in Seattle because they wouldn’t give him a long-term deal.
The good thing about Thomas’ injury is that it wasn’t a ligament injury, so the odds of him coming back and being at least close to the same player are pretty good.
I love this deal for the Ravens because as I mentioned, Lamar Jackson is on a rookie deal and Baltimore had one of the best defenses in the league last season, finishing tied with the Bears for the league lead in yards per play allowed, and now they have upgraded that defense.
The odds are that Lamar Jackson isn’t going to come out and be a dynamic passer next season, so they will be relying a lot on the running game and playing great defense and now they have improved on an already top defense.
For Thomas this deal is obviously a good one. It gives him some financial security and a really good amount of guaranteed money, which is what he was always seeking from Seattle. This also continues the trend of safeties getting paid. The ability to be versatile is clearly something that teams are putting a premium on, which makes sense with the way offenses are run in today’s NFL.
Top Photo: Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times