OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Count Earl Thomas among those who were surprised that the six-time Pro Bowl safety ended up signing with the Baltimore Ravens.
Thomas had been linked to the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers at the start of free agency, but the Ravens started negotiations with Thomas on Wednesday and quickly signed the Seattle Seahawks free agent to a four-year, $55 million deal that includes $32 million guaranteed.
"I thought I was going to Kansas City on a two-year deal, one-year deal," Thomas said. "I was just going to better myself, hit the market again."
He said he then received a call from his agents.
"They said Baltimore has a mega deal for you," he said. "And I said 'hell, yeah."
"It was last minute," Thomas added at Friday's introductory press conference. "I didn't expect the Ravens to even give me a chance. I didn't hear about the Ravens throughout the whole process. I actually thought I was going somewhere else. I'm very appreciative for the opportunity."
The Ravens wanted to keep C.J. Mosley, but they were priced out when he agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract with the New York Jets on Tuesday. One day later, Baltimore turned its attention to Thomas, who was surprisingly still available.
Thomas fills the void left by Eric Weddle, who was recently cut by the Ravens, and provides leadership to a defense that lost three other key members in the first two days of free agency.
"We swooped in," Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. "We have a good relationship with agents. We saw an opportunity and we made a move. And I think it was a great move. I'm extremely happy with what we were able to do very quickly, putting a deal together and getting a deal that made sense for the player and for the team. That's how you have to do it in today's modern salary-cap age. You have to stay flexible and be aggressive."
One of the questions with Thomas is durability. After not missing a start from 2010 to 2015, he has been sidelined for 19 games over the past three seasons.
His left leg has been broken twice (in 2016 and 2018), and he is coming off a career-low four games last season.
"I don't think they're a factor at all," Thomas said about his injuries. "Experience is the best teacher. I've been through this process before with this injury. I came back and went to the Pro Bowl and had an All-Pro year. I expect to do the same thing this year."
Thomas, 29, has already starting making himself at home. He worked a deal to get the No. 29 jersey, which had been worn by cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
"His mom has a track team," Thomas said. "So I might throw a little bread that way."
Running back Mark Ingram was introduced with Thomas at Friday's press conference. While Thomas preferred not to talk about his nine years in Seattle, Ingram spoke about how tough it was for him to leave New Orleans after eight seasons.
Ravens officials believe both will become leading voices on both sides of the ball for Baltimore.
"Both men really do define what we look for in football players," DeCosta said. "Humility, leadership, toughness and intelligence. Both guys really fit our culture with the style they play with. They'll be fan favorites very quickly."