In a stunning move, the Ravens did the unthinkable on Sunday, choosing to release perennial All-Pro safety Earl Thomas after just one season with the organization.
Released for conduct detrimental to the team, Thomas had his contract terminated after starting a fight with teammate Chuck Clark after a blown coverage assignment in Friday's practice. This latest on-field scuffle was the final straw after a series of incidents involving the star defender, who reportedly has been late to meetings this summer and also got into an altercation with defensive tackle Brandon Williams after a loss to the Browns last season.
Thomas has also dealt with concerning issues off the field, as back in April, his wife Nina was arrested for breaking into a home and allegedly pointing a gun at him after he was caught alongside his brother sleeping with other women. Thomas himself wasn't arrested.
Given his off-field problems and the obvious trust issues that had come to the surface from teammates, Thomas wore out his welcome in Baltimore. One of the best organizations in the sport had seen enough and moved swiftly to jettison him, leaving the seven-time Pro Bowler on the market looking for a new employer.
For those immediately linking Thomas back to the Seahawks, where he played his first nine NFL seasons and won a Super Bowl, that won't be happening. The bridge between him and the organization had been burned beyond repair after he begged then-Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to "come get me" in December 2017 and finished his time in Seattle by giving coach Pete Carroll the bird while being carted off the field in Arizona with a broken leg. It'd be an understatement to say that ship has sailed.
Besides, Seattle has traded for two starting safeties in the past calendar year, bolstering the secondary by acquiring Quandre Diggs from the Lions and recently sending two first-round picks to the Jets for Jamal Adams. There wouldn't be anywhere for Thomas to play even if Carroll and general manager John Schneider wanted to bring him back.
However, that doesn't mean Thomas' eventual landing spot won't impact the Seahawks at some point. Immediately after news broke of his release, rumors about the Cowboys interest in signing the former Texas star spread like wildfire. Though they have minimal cap space to work with, Thomas may still be owed significant money from the Ravens and as a result may take a veteran minimum deal to join his favorite team growing up.
Seattle hosts Dallas in Week 3, setting up another return to CenturyLink Field for Thomas if he winds up signing there. It's also possible San Francisco could court the veteran, teaming him back up with cornerback Richard Sherman in a division rival's secondary to play against their former team twice.
While it remains unclear which other teams may have interest in Thomas, it wouldn't be shocking for the Seahawks other two rivals in the NFC West to investigate. Other top contenders in the conference in "win now" mode such as the Buccaneers shouldn't be counted out either.
In the AFC, the Texans would seem to be an ideal landing spot, as Thomas could return to the state of Texas for a budding contender with a star quarterback in Deshaun Watson. And it would set up an opportunity for him to get revenge on his former team quickly, as Houston plays Baltimore in Week 2.
It will be interesting to see where the 31-year old Thomas winds up next. Though he's had a turbulent couple of seasons, he did return to the Pro Bowl last season and remains a high quality talent, so there should be ample interest on the market. Just don't expect the Seahawks to be one of those teams.