On Sunday, Thomas tweeted he will not attend the Seattle Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp or any team activities until his contract situation is resolved.
— Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) June 10, 2018
That immediately makes people think of the Cowboys.
In December, Thomas kicked off the possibility by telling coach Jason Garrett to “come get me,” if the Seahawks made the All-Pro safety available. The Cowboys and Seahawks engaged in talks on a deal at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis in February. Phone calls were made again during the April draft, with the Cowboys’ second-round or third-round picks involved in a trade that never materialized.
Thomas’ tweet would seem to re-open the door to a potential trade, but can the sides agree on the compensation? They haven’t since February.
Of course, for any trade to happen, the Cowboys would have to satisfy Thomas’ contract demands as well. They would not do a deal for him without knowing they have secured his rights long-term.
Thomas is entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million contract. He will want a deal that would make him the highest-paid safety in the game. The Cowboys have the ability to create the structure of a contract that large, but they also have to think about re-signing their own Pro Bowl players: right guard Zack Martin and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
From a football perspective, picking up Thomas makes sense for the Cowboys.
Through the nine organized team activities, they have used Jeff Heath or Xavier Woods as the starter. They also have Kavon Frazier, who is entering his third season. The Cowboys have not yet been tempted to add any of the free-agent safeties available, such as Eric Reid or Kenny Vaccaro. They did not select a safety in the draft, but can always flirt with the idea of moving cornerbacks Byron Jones or Chidobe Awuzie back to safety.
Also, there is the presence of passing game coordinator Kris Richard on the Cowboys’ staff. He was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator. He was Thomas’ position coach. He knows the safety as well as anybody and Thomas knows the defense the Cowboys want to employ better than anybody.
At the Cowboys’ sponsors golf tournament last month, executive vice president Stephen Jones kept the door open for a safety.
“Absolutely. I mean, we don’t ever quit looking in terms of player acquisition,” Jones said. “One of the things that is unique is, when you have players with versatility, it probably makes you feel a little better. We’ve talked about Byron and Chidobe. We certainly want them honed in on what we want them to do this year.
“But at the same time, if we saw the right fit — whether at the free safety position or the strong safety position, because we know Jeff [Heath] has flexibility, as well — we’ll certainly look at that. But for the most part, when we look back on this offseason in terms of the free agency aspect of it, in terms of the draft aspect of it, we feel really good about what we were able to get done. You pointed it out, free safety, if the right spot were there would we have done something? Absolutely. But it just didn’t work out that way and we certainly didn’t want to push the issue. We had to make a few tough decisions on whether to go with another need or the free safety need. But we feel like, overall, we’re very comfortable and confident where we are. But there’s still a lot of work to do between now and the start of the season.”
With Thomas avoiding Seattle, maybe there is a chance the Cowboys can make their biggest offseason splash yet.