Earl Thomas is officially on the market.
The Baltimore Ravens decided to move on from their star safety after he allegedly punched a teammate at practice on Saturday.
We have terminated S Earl Thomas’ contract for personal conduct that has adversely affected the Baltimore Ravens.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 23, 2020
With the five-time All-Pro free to choose a destination, the San Francisco 49ers have become a popular landing spot.
A few other teams to watch for #Ravens S Earl Thomas upon him being released: The #49ers and #Texans. They should be among those inquiring, along with the #Cowboys. Thomas, of course, will have a market.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 23, 2020
Robert Saleh, the 49ers’ defensive coordinator, runs a scheme based on his experience with Thomas and the Seattle Seahawks.
In joining former teammate Richard Sherman in San Francisco, Thomas would also recreate a part of “The Legion of Boom.”
Along with Kam Chancellor, LOB instilled fear into opposing offenses for the better part of a decade in Seattle.
Willie McGinest and LaDainian Tomlinson thought that Thomas in San Francisco would replicate a similar level of success.
“For the 49ers, I look at their defense as one of the best in the league,” McGinest said on NFL Network. “And if you add another piece like that, it just sends them over the top. It’s almost unfair. But I look at that locker room — strong personalities, strong locker room, great character, great coaches in there to be able to handle a guy like Earl Thomas.
Tomlinson echoed a similar sentiment in the same segment.
“As Willie alluded to, Earl Thomas has played with Richard before. They have a great understanding with each other of how to play in that type of defense, along with [them being] ready to win now,” said Tomlinson. “You look at all the talent that they have on the defensive side of the ball, especially with that defensive line, you can really build something similar in San Francisco, from Earl’s point of view, as you had in Seattle.
While the combination is undoubtedly enticing, whether or not the 49ers take a chance on him remains to be seen.
Short Stint In Baltimore
Thomas hit the free-agent market after an illustrious nine-year career with the Seahawks.
He signed with the Ravens to a four-year, $55 million contract with $32 million guaranteed.
Though he was coming off of a season-ending injury in 2018, he had big expectations heading into Baltimore.
He initially delivered on that promise, showcasing his trademarked combination of intelligence, anticipation, and range.
Despite the team’s miscues in the postseason, Thomas still earned Pro-Bowl honors for his regular-season contributions.
However, he quickly fell out of favor with his new club with his antics on and off the field.
“He was not well-liked by his teammates,” said Peter King, a columnist for NBC Sports. “He had a pattern of being late, and in a recent practice, he made multiple assignment errors, causing defensive teammates to confront him about his preparedness. He missed at least one walk-through with no valid excuse. When the incident at Friday’s practice happened, very few, if any, teammates came to his defense. Teammates backed Clark, the significantly lesser name.”
Thomas’ release comes on heels of another incident, in which his wife found him cheating and held him at gunpoint.
Eventually, the team grew weary of his behavior and felt that his character concerns necessitated a change of scenery.
Sherman, always one to share his opinions, let teams know that his former teammate would come back with a vengeance.
It’s really sad how things have played out for a man who is like a brother to me. Just know that when @Earl_Thomas gets back on the grass he will be out to make a point! Still one of the best in this league and I look forward to him being able to prove it again
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) August 23, 2020
49ers legend Jerry Rice, though, recommended that his former team proceed with caution on Monday
“You’ve got to be very smart here because if a team like the Ravens let you go, it’s really making a statement where this guy — where his head is at right now,” Rice said. “I really don’t know him. I don’t know him at all. But for them to make a drastic move like that, I think it’s sending a message throughout the league that this guy, he has some problems.”
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson praised Thomas for his mentorship and was optimistic about his future.
Surprised the Ravens released my guy @Earl_Thomas . Hearing all the noise but Earl’s always been someone I can rely on when I had questions and I have nothing but respect for him. Can’t wait to see where he lands.
— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) August 23, 2020
Even with his character issues, Thomas will land on a roster sooner or later.