TUESDAY, 1:31pm: Thomas, who appeared at a press conference today officially announcing the new deal, receives a $9.5MM signing bonus as part of the agreement, tweets Rapoport.
MONDAY, 4:11pm: It’s a four-year extension for Thomas, according to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (via Twitter). Since those are four new years, that will keep the safety under contract through the 2018 season. Meanwhile, Rapoport has the salary details, tweeting that the agreement has a base value of $40MM, with $27.725MM of that money guaranteed.
3:54pm: The Seahawks have reached an agreement on a long-term deal with safety Earl Thomas, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). According to Rapoport, Thomas’ extension will make him “easily the highest-paid safety,” which means it should surpass the $9MM-per-year contract signed last month by Jairus Byrd.
Thomas has spent the first four seasons of his NFL career in Seattle after being drafted by the club in the first round in 2010. The 24-year-old’s contributions have helped make the Seahawks’ secondary arguably the best in the NFL — he has earned an All-Pro spot in back-to-back years, and has made three straight Pro Bowls. According to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), Thomas has recorded a positive grade every year of his career, and ranked ninth among 86 qualified safeties in 2013. He also recorded 127 tackles and grabbed five interceptions last season.
Just before Thomas helped lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win in February, we heard that an extension for the standout safety would be Seattle’s top priority this offseason. The club handled plenty of other business last month, including re-signing free agent defensive end Michael Bennett, but extensions for Thomas and Richard Sherman were among Seattle’s other goals before the 2014 season gets underway. With Thomas locked up, the Seahawks will shift their focus to Sherman, with whom they’ve reportedly made some progress in extension talks.
As for the specific financial details of Thomas’ new deal, we’ll have to wait for those to be reported — on his current contract, he’s in line for a base salary of $4.625MM in 2014, with a cap hit of about $5.473MM. While Byrd’s new contract is the largest per-year value for any NFL safety, Eric Berry received a larger guarantee.
Over The Cap lists Berry’s guarantee as about $25.7MM, while Joel Corry of CBSSports.com tweets that the Chiefs safety got $34MM guaranteed. There may be some discrepancy there between fully guaranteed money, and money guaranteed for injury only. Either way, if Thomas’ new contract makes him “easily” the highest-paid safety, he’s likely looking at an eight-digit annual salary, with the overall guarantee depending on the number of years.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.