The No. 3 best player for the Seahawks

In the continuing countdown of the top 12 players for the Seahawks entering the 2014 season, this man is one tough Texan who leads the Legion of Boom.

No. 3: Free safety Earl Thomas. He is a relentless competitor who closes on a play as fast as anyone you will ever see. Thomas earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl spot in 2013 and was a serious candidate for NFL defensive player of the year. He is widely regarded as the best safety in football.

Thomas had 100 tackles in the regular season and led the Seahawks with 75 solo tackles. He also had five interceptions, giving him a total of 15 in his four pro seasons.

And Thomas won’t turn 25 until May 7 because he left the University of Texas after his sophomore season, so it’s likely his best days are still to come.

Thomas’s work ethic is extraordinary. He practices just as hard as he plays the games and it shows. He has an instinctive ability to break on a play and cause it to fail because of his uncanny knowledge of what’s about to happen and his incredible speed to reach the play and disrupt it.

Contact status: Thomas is starting the final year of a four-year deal that will pay him $4.7 million this season and count $5.5 million against the salary cap. That amount is about to double, making him a $10 million a year safety. The Seahawks are trying to work out a contract extension for Thomas, but it likely will cost more than $30 million overall to do it. And in this case, he’s worth it.