The Seattle Seahawks have made safety Earl Thomas the highest-paid safety in the NFL, rewarding him with a four-year, $40 million contract extension, a league source confirmed.

That includes $27.725 million guaranteed.

The deal has a total value of $44.625 million and averages $8.925 million annually, trumping New Orleans Saints safety Jairus Byrd's $8.75 million average.

Fast and hard-hitting, Thomas is a former University of Texas standout drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft.

He finished third in the NFL last season in balloting for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.

He registered a career-high 105 tackles and five interceptions last season for the Super Bowl champions.

In three NFL seasons, Thomas has 335 tackles, 15 interceptions, 32 pass deflections and five forced fumbles.

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun