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Seahawks make Earl Thomas NFL's highest-paid safety

The Seattle Seahawks have locked down hard-hitting safety Earl Thomas long term.

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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport broke the news Monday that the Seahawks and Thomas agreed to a blockbuster four-year contract extension worth $40 million with $27.725 guaranteed, per a source informed of the situation. The pact includes a $9.5 million signing bonus, according to a source involved. In all, the deal will make Thomas easily the highest-paid safety in the NFL.

The 24-year-old Thomas was a lynchpin to the Seattle Seahawks' Super Bowl championship. His size, speed, hitting ability and nose for the football make him one of the NFL's most indispensable defensive backs. 

Thomas was viewed as a legitimate candidate for Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 -- a surprise from a position often overlooked during awards time. He placed third in voting, with the Panthers' Luke Kuechly taking home the award.

Thomas was the team's first-round pick in 2010, and he's started all 16 games each season since being drafted. Already the best safety in the NFL, Thomas will now be paid like it.

Prior to Thomas' new deal, Jairus Byrd ($9 million) and Eric Berry ($8.4 million) had the highest base salaries from the safety position, per spotrac.com. Byrd signed a six-year, $54 million contract with the New Orleans Saints this offseason, including a $11 million signing bonus ($26.3 million guaranteed).

The Seahawks had Thomas under contract for the 2014 season, but Rapoport reported earlier this offseason he was the team's "top priority" to sign long term.

Next to lock up on the list for general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll: Richard Sherman.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks down the draft with NFL Films' Greg Cosell.

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