NFL rumors: Earl Thomas almost signed one-year contract before Ravens deal

Dalton Johnson
NBC Sports BayArea

NFL rumors: Earl Thomas almost signed one-year contract before Ravens deal originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

Earl Thomas is no longer a Seahawk. The three-time All-Pro flapped his wings and flew to Baltimore, where he'll now be a Raven with a deeper back account. 

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Thomas signed a hefty four-year, $55 million contract with the Ravens, but even he believed he was headed elsewhere. 

"The Ravens were never in the picture," Thomas said to NBC Sports' Peter King on Thursday. "I was shocked. I was blessed." 

King reports Thomas was prepared to accept a one-year, $12 million offer from a different, unknown team. Could that mystery team be the 49ers? 

Ultimately, the contract Thomas signed with the Ravens was too costly for the 49ers. NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco addressed the question in a recent mailbag: With Thomas, the cost of the contract was the turn-off. The 49ers probably were not willing to go beyond the $9 million average they gave Richard Sherman last year.

[RELATED: How 49ers' starting lineups look after first wave of free-agent signings]

While that could easily be the case, perhaps the 49ers were willing to offer a higher average annual value if the contract was for only one year, especially since Thomas was held to four games last season after fracturing his leg against the Cardinals. 

Instead of Thomas taking over as San Francisco's free safety, the 49ers re-signed defensive back Jimmie Ward to a one-year contract. Ward is expected to start alongside a combination of safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Marcell Harris to man the back of the defense.

The 49ers missed out on Thomas, but the good news for them is they'll only face him once as a Raven in 2019, as opposed to twice if he stayed with Seattle.

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