Earl Thomas DB SEA 20 Days

Thomas will return punts this season, coach Pete Carroll confirmed to 710 ESPN Seattle on Monday.

Thomas lobbied for the job and looked decent in the role during exhibition games. WR/PR Bryan Walters, who was cut Saturday, was re-signed Monday. So while Thomas will start as the punt returner, Walters could see action too.

Earl Thomas DB SEA 21 Days

Following the release of wide receiver Bryan Walters, Thomas will likely open the season as Seattle's primary punt returner, Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune reports.

Thomas has never returned a punt or kick during the regular season, but he did rip off a 59-yard punt return against the Bears in Seattle's third game this preseason. He has the athleticism to succeed in the role, and he might be able to tack on a touchdown or two through special teams. However, there's also the added risk of injury, which led fellow Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor to say that he thinks the idea of Thomas returning punts is a bad one, ESPN.com reports. Of course, Chancellor doesn't have much say in the matter, and it's far more telling that the Seahawks were willing to let Thomas return punts in the preseason.

Earl Thomas DB SEA 4 Months

Speaking Tuesday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said FS Earl Thomas would be the team's punt returner were the season to start today.

Carroll also said CB Richard Sherman was "in the mix" on punts. Both Thomas and Sherman are exceedingly dangerous with the ball in their hands, but recipients of fat new contract extensions this offseason, we doubt Seattle ends up risking their health on returns.

Earl Thomas DB SEA 5 Months

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Seahawks have locked up FS Earl Thomas to a "blockbuster" contract extension.

Earl Thomas DB SEA 8 Months

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Seahawks' "top priority" this offseason is re-signing FS Earl Thomas.

Thomas received 7.5-of-50 Defensive Player of the Year votes in 2013, and in some circles is considered a superior defensive back to teammate Richard Sherman. Turning 25 in May, Thomas could surpass $9 million per year on his new deal. The Steelers are currently paying Troy Polamalu $9.125 million annually. The Chargers gave FS Eric Weddle $40 million over five years in 2011.

Earl Thomas DB SEA 8 Months

Seahawks FS Earl Thomas earned a $900,000 base salary escalator for 2014, bringing his new scheduled pay to $4.625 million.

Thomas' rookie deal contained language setting him up for a large final-year escalator and he earned it based on interceptions, Pro Bowl berths, and Seahawks playoff wins. Thomas, 24, is now in line for a monster pay day on a forthcoming extension. He's arguably the NFL's premier free safety, and Thomas' contract expires after 2014. Seattle is going to have to pay a lot of folks very soon. They've been roster hoarding on nailed draft picks and cheap rookie deals.

Earl Thomas DB SEA Jun 18 '13

Coach Pete Carroll said FS Earl Thomas is just hitting his prime now.

Earl Thomas DB SEA Jan 31 '13

Seahawks FS Earl Thomas triggered an escalator in his contract, raising his 2013 salary from $1.575 million to $2.05 million.

Thomas' 2014 salary was also affected, and it jumps from $2.5 million to $3.725 million. Thomas has started all 48 games since being the No. 14 overall pick in the 2010 draft. Over that span, the ball-hawking safety has totaled 240 tackles and ten interceptions. Thomas is a two-time Pro Bowler and has two years left on his rookie deal.

Earl Thomas DB SEA Jan 12 '13

Seahawks FS Earl Thomas triggered $475,000 in incentives by earning a 2012 Pro Bowl berth and steering his team to a playoff win.

Thomas triggered the $200K Pro Bowl bonus before intercepting Robert Griffin III in Seattle's Wild Card Round win over Washington. Arguably the top young free safety in football, 23-year-old Thomas finished 2012 with 66 tackles, a forced fumble, and three picks. Now a two-time Pro Bowler through three NFL seasons, Thomas already has ten regular season interceptions in his career.

Earl Thomas DB SEA Dec 27 '11

FS Earl Thomas is the first Seahawk to make the Pro Bowl since 2008-09.

The Seahawks sent LB Julian Peterson and legendary OT Walter Jones that season. A first-round pick in 2010, Thomas has graded out as the eighth best safety in the league by Pro Football Focus after having an up-and-down rookie year.