In the 2010 NFL Draft, players like Ndamukong Suh and Eric Berry were drawing all the headlines as some of the best defensive prospects of recent history. With the 14th overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks did not have a shot at Suh or Berry, but they were still able to land a dominant player for their secondary.
The team selected free safety Earl Thomas out of the University of Texas. Though there were some concerns over Thomas' size (5-foot-10, 208 pounds) potentially limiting him in the NFL, the Seahawks could not have asked for more out of their selection. Through four NFL campaigns, Thomas has been named to three Pro Bowls and earned two first-team All-Pro selections. Still just 24 years old, it can be argued that Thomas is the game's premier safety in pass coverage.
On the heels of his fourth great season - which ended with a Super Bowl victory - Thomas has been rewarded by the Seahawks for his stellar play.
NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the two sides agreed to a monster contract extension. The deal is said to be a four-year, $40 million pact that will be tacked on to the $4.725 million that Thomas was already set to make in 2014.
Under the extension, Thomas will be the highest-paid safety in the NFL at $10 million per season, edging out Jairus Byrd's $9 million annual average with the New Orleans Saints.
The deal will keep Thomas in Seattle through the 2018 campaign when Thomas turns 29 at the end of the contract. Some great news for Thomas is that he should still be in his prime when his contract expires, which will allow him to land one more mega-deal before hanging up the cleats.
The Seahawks will now turn their attention to cornerback Richard Sherman, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has reported that the team is now "zeroing in" on a contract extension with Sherman that will make him the "highest paid cornerback in the game." The deal is expected to be worth something in the range of $10-12 million annually. Once Sherman's contract is extended, the Seahawks will have the heart of the Legion of Boom (Sherman, Thomas, and Kam Chancellor) locked up long-term, forcing the rest of the NFL to deal with a terrorizing secondary for years to come.