Seattle wants to keep Alexander
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch

Earlier this offseason, Seattle committed a potential $100 million in re-signing quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones to long-term contracts. That left Pro Bowl running back - and Rams tormentor - Shaun Alexander with the short end of the checkbook. Namely, the Seahawks' franchise tag designation that had been used on Jones the past two seasons.

Despite speculation about trading Alexander, Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren indicated otherwise last week.

"I choose to think we're going to keep him," Holmgren said.

Alexander remains optimistic he'll get a long-term deal.

"I expect a contract to be done once the season begins," he said.

Easier said than done.

Since the March 16 negotiating deadline for franchise players has come and gone, the Seahawks and Alexander can't negotiate until mid-July. Alexander has not signed his one-year franchise tender of $6.32 million and is expected to skip minicamps and training camp.

Although the Seahawks have said Alexander could explore a trade, the market has been surprisingly soft so far. At age 27, Alexander is in his prime. He set Seattle franchise records last year with 1,696 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns last season. Over the past four seasons, he has averaged 1,406 yards rushing and more than 17 TDs. There isn't a more durable, more productive back in the league.

Thomas asks for trade

St. Louisan Hollis Thomas, who has been with Philadelphia since 1996, has asked to be traded because he says coach Andy Reid is not following through on a promise to redo Thomas' contract.

Thomas, the team's best run stuffer at defensive tackle, was asked to restructure his contract - and take a pay cut - after foot problems sidelined him for part of the 2001 season and all of '02. Hollis did so. He's due a modest $665,000 in base salary this year, but says Reid and team vice president Tom Heckert promised a pay raise to $1 million after the Eagles '04 NFC championship season. Speaking to members of the Philadelphia media, Reid declined to comment on whether he promised Thomas a pay raise. As for the trade request?

"He's not going anywhere," Reid said. "He's going to be an Eagle."

Thomas played for Sumner High School but attended the Academy of Math and Science. (He played for Sumner because Math and Science didn't have a football team.)

As for his contract woes, Thomas said: "They hold all the cards. What can you do? I'm disappointed, but it isn't like I have any leverage."