The Baltimore Ravens were unable to find a trade partner for Earl Thomas and have released the safety
"We have terminated S Earl Thomas' contract for personal conduct that has adversely affected the Baltimore Ravens," the team has announced.
The two sides had reached an inescapable impasse and will that led to Thomas being released.
Sources: The #Ravens are planning to release or trade star S Earl Thomas. Either way, it appears his time in Baltimore is coming to an end.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 23, 2020
Here's how it got to this point.
In May, Thomas was in the news when he was reportedly involved in ‘violent altercation' with wife. TMZ released a story that Thomas was held at gunpoint by Nina over an alleged cheating incident. The "violent altercation" took place on April 13 between Thomas, Nina and "several other people." That led to the Ravens exploring whether Earl Thomas violated his contract.
Ultimately, Thomas made it to training camp, and made headlines for all the wrong reasons, again.
Via Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun, Thomas and safety Chuck Clark had a "heated confrontation." As Shaffer explains it, a sideline argument late in the morning practice became something more than that, with Clark being held back by teammates and Thomas balling his fists. The situation flashed again later in practice, with cornerback Marlon Humphrey restraining Clark, and Clark soon after that leaving the practice field. The team sent Thomas home in the aftermath and was not at practice this past Friday. Thomas posted a video on Instagram showing himself making a mistake in coverage, and although he acknowledged the mistake, he indicated that teammate Chuck Clark overreacted to the mistake and that overall Thomas thinks he is performing at a high level right now.
"Being sent home sucks I can't take the reps I need to keep momentum going," Thomas wrote. "But I can reflect on things and keep working my plan to help the team win. This has been one of of my best camps crazy a situation like this can through dirt on it. Here is the clip that started the fight. A mental error on my part. A Busted coverage that I tried to explain calmly meet with built up aggression turned into me getting into with a teammate. Since we didn't keep it in house and I'm getting text and calls from ESPN reporters etc thought I'd try and clear the air. Situations like this narrow my window for error but this the path I choose."
Jason LaCanfora and Ken Weinman of 105.7 the Fan in Baltimore reported that "there is mounting frustration" among the team's defensive backs regarding Thomas, centered around Thomas not being "punctual and focused."
Thomas has a fully-guaranteed salary of $10 million in 2020. But this doesn't mean he's untouchable. PFT obtained a copy of his contract, and it's clear that the guarantee for 2020 evaporates if he's suspended by the Ravens for conduct detrimental to the team.
LaConfora reiterated that notion on Sunday.
The @Ravens situation with Earl Thomas could come to a head today. Sources said the team's Leadership Council made it clear to decision makers they would prefer Thomas not be around. Cap hit could be issue but "conduct detrimental" clause provides potential avenue for relief— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 22, 2020
The Ravens' decision to wipe their hands of Thomas was going to happen one way or another.
The move undoubtedly will result in the team refusing to pay his $10 million salary, which is otherwise fully guaranteed. The language of his contract contemplates a suspension for conduct detrimental that would void the guarantees before a release; the Ravens have decided to make the move in one fell swoop.
Given the stakes, the NFL Players Association undoubtedly will challenge the move, via a formal grievance.
Even without this year's salary, Thomas exits Baltimore with $22 million for one year of service with the Ravens. And he becomes an unrestricted free agent as of 4:00 p.m. ET, when the move appears on the official transaction report.
Portions of PFT reports were used in this story.
Earl Thomas' time in Baltimore is over after being released by Ravens originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest