The Earl Thomas dilemma: NFL execs explore what's next

Should Seattle trade Earl Thomas? Re-sign him? Let him walk in the offseason? Use the franchise tag? And is Thomas still as good as ever at age 29? Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

SEATTLE -- No Seattle Seahawks story from 2017 created bigger waves than when six-time Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas approached Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett following a Christmas Eve game.

"If y'all have the chance, come get me," Thomas told Garrett at the time.

Thomas' frustration with his contract situation has only grown from there, and the story is back on center stage with the 1-1 Cowboys visiting the 0-2 Seahawks in Week 3.

In a perfect world, Thomas would play out the final year of his $40 million contract, the Seahawks would reward him with an even richer extension and together they would celebrate many more productive years together.

That could still happen, but the Seahawks' world is not as perfect as it seemed a couple years ago. At best, this is a team in transition. At worst, Seattle is plummeting toward the NFC basement. Where the Seahawks actually fit into the league hierarchy could help them decide how to proceed with one of the great players in franchise history.

Should Seattle trade Thomas? Re-sign him? Let him walk in the offseason? Use the franchise tag to buy time? And what about Thomas at age 29? Is he still as good as ever, or is the consensus that he's slipping? How well should we expect him to play in the future, and for how long?

These are difficult questions, which is why I've enlisted evaluators and decision makers around the league to help determine what the Seahawks should do next.