Safety Earl Thomas had made waves with his perceived discontent with the Seahawks over the past month or so, and he now sounds serious about initiating a contract holdout, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. “I want to finish my career there,” Thomas said. “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. As far as my future in Seattle, I think if they want me, you know, money talks. We’ll get something accomplished. Other than that, I’m just taking it one day at a time.” Thomas, 28, is entering the final year of his current contract, and says Seattle has yet to initiate negotiation discussions. He’s currently earning $10MM annually, which ranks sixth among NFL safeties.
Here’s more from the NFC West:
- New Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks has opted to retain incumbent quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Former Arizona head coach Bruce Arians has been especially vocal about Leftwich’s future prospects, noting last June that the former first-round pick would become “a head coach early and fast.” Elsewhere on staff, wide receivers coach Kevin Garver and tight ends coach Steve Heiden could stay on with the Cardinals, per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link), while inside linebackers coach Larry Foote will return, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have also announced Jeff Rodgers — who’s coached with the Bears, Broncos, and Panthers — as their new special teams coordinator.
- While the 49ers are confident that they’ll be able to extend quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, there is a chance San Francisco will be forced to use a franchise or transition tag, leading Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk to examine the benefits and drawbacks of each tender. The transition tag is roughly $2MM cheaper than the non-exclusive franchise tag, but it also comes with the threat of another team snagging Garoppolo without the 49ers collecting draft pick compensation. However, general manager John Lynch & Co. lead the league in cap space, meaning they’d be able to match nearly any offer sheet Garoppolo receives from another club.
- The 49ers are searching for an assistant defensive line coach to work under Jeff Zgonina, reports Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). USC defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze was in the 49ers’ facility on Thursday, so there’s a possibility he was interviewing for the position, per Maiocco. Vince Oghobaase held the title of assistant OL coach in 2017, but he’s since joined the UCLA staff.