Sherman: Earl Thomas 'deserves' to be paid like top safety

Count Richard Sherman among those who aren't sure what the future holds for Earl Thomas and the Seattle Seahawks.

Thomas' current contract with the Seahawks expires after the 2018 season, and Sherman believes his former Legion of Boom co-conspirator should get paid.

"I think Earl Thomas deserves the money he's asking for," Sherman told NFL Network's Michael Robinson during Robinson's youth football camp in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday. "I think he deserves to be compensated as the top safety in the league. Whether Seattle does that or not is up to them."

There's no doubt Thomas has been a huge part of what the Seahawks have accomplished under coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider in Seattle. But the Seahawks' numerous roster and coaching staff moves this offseason show they aren't afraid to part ways with the on-field architects of their past glories.

Looking past Thomas' somewhat strange Christmas Eve locker room visit with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, there has been plenty of speculation about the six-time Pro Bowler's future in Seattle. Although the Seahawks want to sign the 29-year-old to a contract extension, the numbers might not be palpable to the team's long-term plans.

Sherman believes it's hard to understate how critical Thomas is to the Seahawks' defense.

"Obviously, that man plays at a high level and the defense doesn't really work without his contribution," Sherman said. "I think after a while you show a certain level of respect to your players who've put in the time. And he's been a great example of dedication and perseverance, and just incredible excellence. So obviously he deserves to get paid, but whether they pay him or not is up to them."

Whether the Seahawks feel the same way remains to be seen.

Thomas wasn't the only player Sherman talked about during his quick conversation with Robinson.

Will Jimmy Garoppolo be the QB of the future for the 49ers? "I believe so. I wouldn't have signed with the team if I didn't believe in him. I watched his film. I watched how he moved down the stretch, I watched how poised he was. I had conversations with his teammates, I had conversations with the head coach about how they coach him, about how he approaches the game. And just seeing his demeanor and seeing how he interacts with his teammates, I think I made a fantastic decision [to join 49ers]. I'm excited to see him go out there."

On his relationship with 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster: "You know, I've had conversations with him. Obviously he knows mistakes have happened in the past and he's trying to move past it. He's doing his best to deal with the situation the best he can. Basically, he's an incredible young man. We're all human beings and I think that's what society forgets -- that we all make mistakes. These young men are under a microscope that most people don't have to deal with. And, obviously, he's handling it the best he can, but I'm trying to do my part to just be a good teammate and be there for him in any way I can. And I think he's going to be fine."

What will it take for 49ers to win the NFC West? "Just consistency. Consistency and discipline. On the defensive side of the ball, they got all the talent in the world. We have talent up front. We've got talent in the second level, the linebacker group. Obviously, Reuben Foster is a tremendous talent and Malcolm Smith has been in this system and plays as well as anybody I've ever seen. Brock Coyle is also adept in this system. Eli Harold has been doing a great job. ... so we've got talent all around. And the secondary is young, but they're incredibly talented and they work incredibly hard. Adrian Colbert is a great safety. ... Ahkello Witherspoon has all the talent in the world, can move, can cover anybody. So it's just understanding that it's a day-to-day-to-day grind to be great, and that's what I'm trying to get through to them, but they work as hard as any group I've seen."