Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas said in a posting on his Twitter account on Sunday that he would not attend the team's mandatory mini-camp this week and that he intends to remain away from the team until his contract situation is rectified.
Thomas, 29, is set to enter the final year of his contract with the Seahawks. He is scheduled to make $8.5 million in 2018.
"I want everyone especially the 12s to know that I want to remain a Seahawk for the rest of my career but I also believe that based on my production over the last 8 years that I’ve earned the right to have this taken care of as soon as possible," Thomas wrote.
"I want to have certainty in regards to the upcoming years of my career. I’m going to continue to work my craft and put in work so that I can add to the team and give us the best chance to win. I hope my teammates understand where I’m coming from I believe this is the right thing to do."
The Seahawks can fine Thomas $84,435 if he misses all three days of the mini-camp. Players can be fined up to $14,070 for missing the first day, $28,150 for the second day and $42,215 for the third day. Fines are ultimately the team's discretion and it would be up to the Seahawks whether to demand the funds.
Thomas told ESPN at the Pro Bowl in January that he didn't see himself showing up if he didn't get an extension first. However, general manager John Schneider said in April he didn't have reason to believe Thomas would hold out after speaking with his agents.
"He has not said he would hold out. His representatives told me that," Schneider said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.
Head coach Pete Carroll said last week he expected everyone to show up for the mandatory mini-camp.
"It’s mandatory, so we expect everybody to show up," he said.
If Thomas' hold out extends into training camp, he can be fined $40,000 a day for each day he misses. If the hold out were to extend beyond the first five days of camp, the team can also fine him 15 percent of his signing bonus of $9.5 million. That amount increases by 1 percent for each day he misses up to a maximum of 25 percent, which would put between $1,425,000 and $2,375,000 million at risk as well.
If the hold out were to continue into the regular season, he would lose 1/17th of his base salary for every game missed.
The Seahawks listened to trade offers for Thomas earlier this offseason but didn't find a deal to their liking. The former first-team All-Pro believes he's one of the best, if not the best, free safety in the NFL and wants to be rewarded as such. Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry signed a six-year, $78 million extension in February, 2017 that averages $13 million a season. Kam Chancellor's contract extension last August with Seattle averaged $12 million a year.
Thomas has also watched Richard Sherman be released after tearing his Achilles in November and Chancellor's career potentially ended due to a neck injury. Getting some greater security from his contract is an understandable goal.
Chancellor was the last Seahawks player to hold out in 2015. Chancellor did not get the new contract he was seeking at the time as Seattle didn't want to tear up a contract with three years remaining on the deal. Marshawn Lynch also held out in 2014 before getting some bonuses guaranteed and paid out immediately.
Photo Credit: GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23: Free safety Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)