Earl Thomas‘ begrudging return to the Seahawks will mean getting his job back immediately. The Seahawks are set to activate their All-Pro safety and start him against the Broncos on Sunday, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
A full-time component of the Seahawks’ secondary from 2010-17, and the Legion of Boom’s last remaining bastion, Thomas will begin the final season of his four-year, $40MM contract. He doesn’t appear too happy about that, after waging a holdout that lasted into September, but his return greatly improves Seattle’s defense.
Despite Russell Wilson‘s presence, the Seahawks are viewed as a rebuilding team after gutting their defense this offseason. Thomas and Bobby Wagner will be all that’s left from Seattle’s Super Bowl defenses, with K.J. Wright set to miss Week 1, but that’s a good place to start for a defense.
The Seahawks have not lost to the Broncos in the Wilson era, defeating them in Super Bowl XLVIII and winning an overtime game in Seattle in September 2014. They are three-point underdogs in Denver this week. Thomas’ return obviously helps the team’s chances of exiting the Mountain Time Zone 1-0.
During Thomas’ absence, Tedric Thompson stepped in as a starter alongside Bradley McDougald. Sunday’s expected arrangement will be a Thomas-McDougald starting back line. After breaking his leg in 2016, Thomas returned last season and reclaimed his position as one of the NFL’s best safeties. He earned another Pro Bowl nod, made two interceptions, returned one of those for a touchdown and made 88 tackles.
While the 29-year-old defender could still be on the trade block, given the unlikelihood he’ll be part of the 2019 Seahawks and the Cowboys’ enhanced trade offer, he’s moving forward with his current team for the time being.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.