Report: Earl Thomas expected to sign four-year, $55 million deal with Ravens

A Baltimore Ravens defense that frightened offenses last season somehow found a way to get even more terrifying. Former Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $55 million deal with the Ravens, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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In his nine seasons in the NFL, Thomas has emerged as one of the best safeties in the game. The 29-year-old Thomas entered last season seeking a new deal with the Seahawks, but did not receive one. He played four games before a leg fracture ended his season.

The moment that happened, any chance of Thomas rejoining the Seahawks went out the window. As he was being carted off the field, Thomas extended his middle finger in the direction of Seattle’s sideline.

19 PHOTOS
NFL players who switched teams this offseason
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NFL players who switched teams this offseason

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Traded from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

RB Le'Veon Bell

Left the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency to sign with the New York Jets

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

QB Joe Flacco

Traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Denver Broncos

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

QB Case Keenum

Traded from the Denver Broncos to the Washington Redskins

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

WR Antonio Brown

Traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders

(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

DE Trey Flowers

Left the New England Patriots in free agency to sign with the Detroit Lions

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

OT Trent Brown

Left the New England Patriots in free agency to sign with the Oakland Raiders

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

WR Danny Amendola

Left the Miami Dolphins in free agency to join the Detroit Lions

(Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)

S Landon Collins

Left the New York Giants in free agency to sign with the Washington Redskins

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

WR DeSean Jackson

Traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Philadelphia Eagles 

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

OL Terrell Suggs

Left the Baltimore Ravens in free agency to join the Arizona Cardinals

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

RB Frank Gore

Left the Miami Dolphins in free agency to sign with the Buffalo Bills

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

QB Nick Foles

Left the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

LB C.J. Mosley

Left the Baltimore Ravens in free agency to sign with the New York Jets

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

WR Jamison Crowder

Left the Washington Redskins in free agency to sign with the New York Jets

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

TE Jesse James

Left the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency to sign with the Detroit Lions

(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

S Eric Weddle

Left the Baltimore Ravens in free agency to sign with the Los Angeles Rams

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

RB Carlos Hyde

Left the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

DE Michael Bennett

Traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the New England Patriots

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

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Despite the injury, Thomas was still expected to be among the most coveted free agents to hit the market. His body of work — which includes six Pro Bowls and three All-Pro selections — speaks for itself. Thomas was rated as the eighth-best free agent available this offseason, according to our own Frank Schwab.

The Ravens weren’t thought of as a strong destination for Thomas until recently, when the team made the surprising decision to cut Eric Weddle. The move saved the Ravens $7.5 million, but it came at the cost of cutting a really good player. The 34-year-old Weddle was coming off his third straight Pro Bowl selection. Weddle signed with the Los Angeles Rams shortly after he was released.

Thomas wasn’t the only move made by Baltimore on Wednesday. The team also signed running back Mark Ingram to a three-year, $15 million deal.

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Both deals confirm the Ravens are planning to utilize the same strategy that got them to the playoffs last season. Thomas should ensure Baltimore’s defense remains terrifying, while Ingram gives the team a bruiser who can move the chains and complement Lamar Jackson.

Winning the AFC North again won’t be easy, especially after the Cleveland Browns added Odell Beckham Jr. on Tuesday. But as Thomas has shown throughout his career, even the best offenses struggle when he’s patrolling the secondary.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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