Earl Thomas projected to land with Packers, report says


    Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas leaves the field on a cart after being injured against the Carolina Panthers in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

    One report suggests that Seahawks star Earl Thomas could be suiting up for an NFC rival in 2019.

    In projecting landing spots for the NFL's top 2019 free agents, Pro Football Focus deemed the Green Bay Packers a strong fit for the All-Pro safety.

    On paper, the move would actually make a lot of sense. The Packers, who've missed the playoffs the last two seasons, have a major need at free safety. Former Pro Bowler Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was traded to the Redskins last October; he'd been the team's starter at the position since 2014. And Tramon Williams, who slid over to free safety from cornerback for Green Bay after Clinton-Dix was dealt, turns 36 next month. He's not the future.

    In addition, the Packers secondary was just lackluster in forcing turnovers last season. They ranked 30th (out of 32 teams) in interceptions per drive in 2018, according to Football Outsiders. Thomas, 30, showed that he's still an elite play-maker, and arguably the best single-high safety in the NFL, before breaking his leg against the Cardinals in Week 4 last year. His unique circumstances – a top-tier veteran that's still productive with an injury history – probably makes him very affordable for the Packers.

    The six-time Pro Bowler had three picks, five passes defensed and 22 combined tackles in four games in 2018.

    As noted previously, there's a strong chance Thomas won't be returning to Seattle next season. His relationship with the Seahawks was strained over his contract holdout last year, when he skipped all of training camp and preseason in hope of forcing the team's hand on a new deal or a trade to another team.

    Free agency begins next month.

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