Denver Broncos: Trading for Earl Thomas not impossible
If the Denver Broncos wanted to trade for Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, they would have to move a lot of things around…
If the Denver Broncos wanted to make a trade for Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, they would have to jump through hoops a little bit to do so.
Though acquiring Thomas would not be impossible for the Broncos, there would be a few major things standing in the way.
The first barrier is the biggest, and it’s the financial barrier.
The Seahawks are on the hook for $1.9 million of Thomas’ $10.4 million cap number in 2018 as a pro-rated signing bonus, but any team that wants to inquire about a trade has to be prepared to potentially take on the $8.5 million in base salary, which would go directly against the cap upon his arrival.
The Broncos currently have just over $7 million in cap space (top 51 contracts) according to Spotrac.com, which would mean they would also have to move some salary in order to bring Thomas in.
One way it could work is to trade player-for-player, though the Seahawks would likely prefer to take their chances with a draft pick if they are going to trade Thomas at this point.
If the Broncos were to trade, say, Darian Stewart for Thomas, they would take on the $8.5 million on Thomas’ contract as well as a $1.4 million dead money charge for trading Stewart, saving $4.5 million in the process.
That would result in a net addition of roughly $4.4 million to the Broncos’ current cap situation.
Since the Broncos’ cap situation is already pretty tight, they would likely have to move around another couple of contracts in order to facilitate this type of a move, but there’s another barrier.
Are the Broncos willing to make this type of trade — which would also come at the cost of 2019 draft picks — for one year of Thomas who may want to play in a place like Los Angeles or Dallas?
It’s possible the cost of one year of Thomas and an attempt to try and convince him to be the next star of the No Fly Zone would be worth it, but that’s an expensive gamble and John Elway is known more for calculated risks than all-in plays.
The Seahawks are not likely to grant Thomas the chance to chat with teams in order to facilitate a trade, as they likely don’t want to let him go along with the mass exodus that has taken place out of Seattle this offseason.
But at the same time, if Thomas doesn’t want to be there, there is not going to be a better time to get some value for him while they still can.
Thomas is 29 years old, has one year remaining on his deal, and would free up a ton of cap space for Seattle to maneuver around in free agency next year.
Thomas will likely also get a sizeable contract from his next team and at the age of 30 with seven missed games over the past two seasons, he may get paid more than he ought.
Thomas looking for a trade is understandable. The Seahawks holding out for solid value is understandable. Any potential Broncos’ interest would also be understandable.
Darian Stewart is coming off of somewhat of a down year but is expected to bounce back this season, his fourth with the Broncos. He has a low dead money hit after this season and the Seahawks could pretty easily move on if they wanted in 2019.
The biggest hurdles in any team trading for Thomas will be his long-term interest in playing for the trading team, his contract demands, and what the team is willing to give the Seahawks in return.
For the Broncos, trading for Thomas is not likely, but also not impossible given the team’s current window of opportunity with other key star defensive players.