Some acts of taunting are more meaningful than others. In the case of Earl Thomas’s bow toward the Cowboys' sideline Sunday, there was a Texas-sized amount of subtext.
The immediate context of the bow was the interception Thomas made that all but sealed his Seahawks' 24-13 win. It was the Pro Bowl safety’s second pick of the contest, showing what — and here’s where the story goes much deeper — Dallas was missing by not having traded for him.
In case anyone was unsure of the motivation behind Thomas’s act, which earned Seattle a penalty, he spelled it out after the game.
“I felt like that was just in the moment,” Thomas said of his bow. “If they [the Cowboys] were going to trade for me and extend me, they should have did it.”
In the final year of a four-year, $40 million contract, Thomas wants an extension, by the Seahawks or another team. A native of Texas who starred in college for the Longhorns, Thomas made it very clear which team he’d prefer last season when, after a Seattle win at Dallas, he was heard telling Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett, “If y’all have a chance, come get me.”
Since then, he has been embroiled in a staredown with the Seahawks, who have given new contracts to lesser players such as wide receiver Tyler Lockett, while playing hardball with the final remaining member of the “Legion of Boom.” In turn, Thomas skipped offseason workouts and only reported to Seattle just before the season started.
Even with the season underway, Thomas has shown his unhappiness with his situation by skipping practices, leading to an ESPN report before Sunday’s game that Seattle was “considering levying a significant fine … for conduct detrimental to the team.” Nevertheless, an unrepentant Thomas told reporters after the win, “I need to make sure my body is 100 [percent].”
“I’m investing in myself,” the ninth-year veteran added. “If they were investing in me, I would be out there practicing. But I feel like if anything, I don’t give a damn if it’s small, I got a headache, I’m not practicing.”
That wasn’t the last of Thomas’s eye-opening postgame remarks. He also claimed that, before the game, a pair of unnamed Cowboys coaches approached him and said, “You ready for the trade tomorrow?”
“I don’t know if they were joking or not,” Thomas said. “I was just minding my business, doing my routine and they came up and a couple of guys said something.”
Dallas reportedly already offered a second-round pick for Thomas, but the Seahawks wanted more. The ESPN story Sunday cited sources who think that Seattle wanted to wait until after it played Dallas to resume trade talks, and if so, the first part of that plan worked to near-perfection.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen also reported that the Chiefs “have emerged as a candidate if a deal is made before the Oct. 30 trade deadline.” That tidbit could represent a signal to the Cowboys to up their offer, but it’s also very plausible that Kansas City, off to a 3-0 start but with major question marks on the defensive side of the ball, would be interested in snaring Thomas.
To judge from the contract stalemate and the ball-hawking safety’s reaction, its seems likely that he will be an ex-Seahawk by the trade deadline, and quite possibly as soon as Monday.
Of possibly having played his final game for Seattle, Thomas said Sunday, “I don’t know if it was, but I had a damn good time, and I’ll go out like that, if I have to.”
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