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Seahawks would be wise to move on from Earl Thomas

Earl Thomas is a great player. The Seattle Seahawks should move on from him. Both things are and can be true at the same time.

Thomas will be 29 years old in May and while the talent is still there, the problems are beginning to bubble to the surface. After a win in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys, Thomas went to Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and told him to ‘come get me,’ something that Thomas stated was more for the end of his career than the immediate future.

On Friday at the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Thomas talked to the media about wanting a new deal or potentially holding out, per

“I want to finish my career there,” Thomas said of Seattle on Thursday. “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.”

Thomas still has a year remaining on his four-year, $40 million deal, but wants to be re-signed to a more lucrative contract before camp rolls around. With Thomas campaigning, general manager John Schneider has a litany of big decisions to make in the coming weeks, both with Thomas and others.

Seattle has a pair of upcoming free agents in Sheldon Richardson and Jimmy Graham. There are also Cliff Avril, Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett, who for financial and health reasons are not likely to return in 2018. Additionally, Richard Sherman could be cut after he tore his Achilles, saving the Seahawks $11 million in cap space. Considering Seattle only has a projected $14 million to spend this offseason, any and all avenues are going to be explored.

As for Thomas, he would be a savings of $8.5 million if released. While Thomas is a six-time All-Pro and a Pro Bowler on a half-dozen occasions, the Seahawks might be smart to blow the roster up. Giving Thomas an extension would tie up major money in a player that relies on his speed to make plays, something of a significant risk into his 30s.

Seattle should be looking to build its team around middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and quarterback Russell Wilson. Thomas, great as he is, isn’t worth nearly as much should the Seahawks decided to move on from Sherman and Chancellor. At that point, paying Thomas top-end money would be foolish, especially considering the state of the offensive line.

If Thomas is willing to play out the final year of his contract, the Seahawks should ride that out and take the compensatory pick in 2019. If he’s unwilling to play without an extension, Schneider should bite the proverbial bullet and move on for the betterment of his team.

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