The Ravens have reportedly reached a four-year agreement with Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas, adding a big-time ball-hawk on the back end of their defense.
The deal is worth $55 million with $32 million fully guaranteed at signing, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The 29-year-old Thomas was considered the top safety on the free agent market, a six-time Pro Bowler who has been named first-team All-Pro three times.
After the release of Eric Weddle last week, Baltimore was in the market for another leader and playmaker in the back end, and Thomas is one of the league's finest.
Thomas has spent his entire nine-year career with the Seattle Seahawks, one of the leaders of a defense that has perennially been among the NFL’s best. Thomas was on the Seahawks team that dominated the Denver Broncos, 43-8, in Super Bowl XLVIII, as a cornerstone of a defensive unit nicknamed the “Legion of Boom.”
During Thomas’ best years in Seattle, the Seahawks had six consecutive winning seasons, three division titles, and two NFC championships along with their Super Bowl title. The 2013 Seattle defense led the league in fewest points allowed, fewest yards allowed, and takeaways – the first team to lead those three categories since the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Thomas was limited to four games last season after suffering a broken leg, but still logged three interceptions. That would have led the Ravens last season.
Thomas played every game the first six seasons of his career and he has been one of the league’s most impactful safeties – smart and tough, effective as a pass defender, run defender and playmaker with 28 career interceptions.
Five years younger than Weddle, Thomas is an established player still in his prime, giving him a chance to be one of the team’s defensive leaders for years to come.
Strong play in the secondary will continue to be crucial for the Ravens in the AFC North, as the Cleveland Browns have acquired wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in a trade with the New York Giants. Beckham joins a division that also includes top wideouts Jarvis Landry of the Browns, A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals and JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
An experienced safety like Thomas brings instant leadership and communication, and he joins a talented Baltimore secondary that also includes safety Tony Jefferson and cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young.