Hawks lock up safety Thomas

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SEATTLE — The Seahawks stayed true to their strategy and to their word.

As the offseason progressed, with the Seahawks staying away from headline-making free-agent signings, they promised that good news was on the horizon.

The payoff came Monday, both for anxious Seattle fans and for safety Earl Thomas, who agreed to a four-year extension that will make him the highest-paid safety in football.

Thomas agreed to a deal that will pay him $40 million over four seasons beginning in 2015, while he plays in 2014 on his current contract that will pay him $4.625 million.

The contract will be announced at a news conference Tuesday morning.

The $10 million average of Thomas’ extension tops the six-year, $54 million contract recently signed by New Orleans’ Jairus Byrd, as does the $27.725 million in guaranteed money (Byrd is reportedly getting $26.3 million).

Keeping Thomas had been regarded as one of Seattle’s most urgent priorities.

“We’re trying to take care of our own people and keep our core of young players together,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said recently.

Re-signing Thomas, who has made the Pro Bowl each of the past three years, also means Seattle has kept half of the famed Legion of Boom secondary intact. It was a year ago this month the Seahawks signed strong safety Kam Chancellor to a new five-year deal worth $35 million.

Next on the to-do list is re-signing cornerback Richard Sherman, who could get a contract that would top $12 million a year and also make him the highest-paid at his position in the NFL.

Sources Monday said the sides are negotiating and a contract could be done soon.

Sherman said last week he was not concerned about being the highest-paid NFL cornerback, an honor that currently belongs to Darrelle Revis of New England, making $12 million next season.

“I don’t care for that,” said Sherman, who is due to make $1.4 million in 2014 on the last year of the four-year rookie deal he signed in 2011. “The only list I care about being at the top of is interceptions.”

Still, Sherman said he will want what he feels he is worth.

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