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Did the Chiefs dodge a bullet by losing out on Earl Thomas last season?

We discussed on the latest edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory!

NFL: New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

On this week’s mailbag edition of the AP Laboratory, we were asked several questions about Earl Thomas and his release from the Baltimore Ravens. One of the questions we received was this:

Did the Chiefs dodge a bullet when Thomas passed on signing with the Chiefs?

Last year, it was reported the Chiefs offered Thomas a one-year, $12 million deal to play in Kansas City. A deal was on the verge of being done before the Baltimore Ravens swooped in with a $55 million offer to secure his services for what they thought was the next four years. Thomas has now been released for conduct detrimental to the organization after a fight with teammate Chuck Clark among other issues.

Whether or not the Chiefs dodged a bullet by missing out on Thomas’ services is not as cut and dry as it may seem on the surface. A lot of it depends on what was happening in the locker room in 2019 in Baltimore.

If the chemistry of the defense was affected by Thomas’ presence, then there really isn’t much of a case to be made about it. The Chiefs have a strong locker room with strong personalities and some clear leaders — especially on defense. It’s hard to believe the issues with Thomas began just this offseason.

If that’s not the case, 2019 would have had some obstacles to deal with in the way of the Chiefs’ ultimate goal. Thomas’ talent may have been enough to make any locker room issues worth it. While in decline, Thomas was still one of the better deep safeties in the NFL last year. The Chiefs would have been able to force offenses to challenge outside the numbers as they ultimately were able to with Mathieu and rookie Juan Thornhill patrolling the field.

If Thomas had signed with the Chiefs, it’s unlikely they would have selected Thornhill in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Hindsight indicates that would have been a mistake. Thornhill played well his first year in the NFL and made major improvements throughout the year before an ACL injury ended his season just shy of the playoffs. Thornhill is under club control for the next three seasons and is an ascending player.

The good news for the Chiefs is that had things gone their way last year, they wouldn’t be on the hook the same way the Ravens are — essentially paying Thomas $22 million for his one year in Baltimore. Had things gone south in 2019 in any capacity, it’s likely that Thomas would have received a contract somewhere else.

Obviously, things could not have turned out better for the Chiefs with their first championship in 50 years. It’s interesting to think about if things would have been different had Thomas been in the mix. Knowing any negatives could be detrimental to achieving the ultimate goal makes it pretty likely the Chiefs dodged a bullet.


Did the Chiefs dodge a bullet by losing out on Earl Thomas last season?

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