The Baltimore Ravens are signing former Seahawks All Pro S Earl Thomas to a four-year, $55 million pact containing $32 million fully guaranteed, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday morning.
Thomas, who turns 30 in May, suffered a season-ending broken leg in Week 4 after ending his contentious holdout on the eve of the regular-season opener. It was the second time in the past three seasons that the one-time ironman finished the season on injured reserve.
Clearly, the Ravens envision it as an aberration as they tabbed Thomas to replace Eric Weddle, one of the NFL's few safeties with a longer track record of durability. Weddle was released last week, saving Baltimore more than $9 million against the cap, prior to quickly signing with the Los Angeles Rams.
Thomas' fit in Baltimore will be a fascinating one. The Ravens have endured a mass free-agent exodus this week, including defensive captain C.J. Mosley and stalwart Terrell Suggs, in addition to EDGE2 Za'darius Smith and WR John Brown, among several others. They fielded the NFL's No. 1 overall defense a year ago, but struggled to consistently take the football away one year after leading the league in interceptions and turnovers generated.
Enter Thomas, at his best not only the NFL's premier ball-hawking safety but the heart and soul of the "Legion of Boom," the rarest of leaders and difference makers on and off the field. Whether he can recapture that form remains to be seen, but new GM Eric DeCosta must envision Thomas making a Weddle-like impact in Baltimore. Whether prioritizing safety over pass rush will be the right move by DeCosta will be another big factor in Thomas' arrival.
Thomas' deal will fall a bit short of those signed by Tyrann Mathieu in Kansas City and Landon Collins in Washington, which is expected because of the growing durability and age concerns. But it's an excellent payday after it became clear that another one wasn't coming from a Seattle organization that has swiftly, successfully turned the page on the "LOB" era.