Ever since Earl Thomas ran up to Jason Garrett and told the Dallas Cowboys head coach to “come get me,” virtually all trade talks surrounding Thomas have revolved around the Cowboys. Rumors have also since involved Dallas’s second round pick this past April — 50th overall and supposedly up for grabs if Connor Williams hadn’t been on the board when the Cowboys picked — but nothing concrete has ever happened involving the Cowboys and Thomas. Dallas owner Jerry Jones all but confirmed that nothing is happening on Friday, saying that he hasn’t had any more talks with the Seattle Seahawks than he’s had with any other team.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he hasn't had any more talks with the Seattle Seahawks (obviously referring to Earl Thomas) than he's had with any other team— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 24, 2018
Thomas held out all of training camp and seems to have no plans to return to football without a contract extension or trade. The Seahawks seem to be in no rush to give into Thomas’ demands, just as they weren’t when Kam Chancellor held out in 2015 and missed the first two games of the season before reporting. Seattle may be open to a trade with another team, but circumstances would have to be perfect for it to work out:
- A team would have to have a need at free safety
- A team would have to have cap space for Earl Thomas
- Presumably, a team would have to be willing to give Thomas the extension he wants
- A team would have to be willing to give up a satisfactory draft pick or player
The Cowboys do have a need at free safety, but it may only be a temporary one: Xavier Woods is expected to miss the opener at least, but the team seems to like what they’ve seen out of the 23-year-old safety and may not be quick to replace him for the whole season just because he’s going to miss a couple of games. Dallas signed former Seahawk Jeron Johnson and Jones has said that they might just have to go with a strong safety at that position for now. Also consider that Eric Reid, a 26-year-old with 70 games played in the last five years, is still a free agent. It doesn’t suggest that the market is overwhelmingly enamored with the position at the moment; George Iloka was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals despite solid play at free safety and he signed a one-year deal for less than $1 million with the Minnesota Vikings.
If Iloka is only making $880,000, teams aren’t going to be so quick to pay Thomas’ $8.5 million salary. And an extension on top of that? It’s easier to imagine that teams would like to see Thomas actually hit free agency and perhaps find out that way if the market is going to continue to undercut the value of safeties, maybe even finding out that he’s worth less than his current figure.
I can see Thomas as an upgrade at free safety for most NFL teams, but I don’t know if I could find a single NFL team that would see Thomas as enough of an upgrade over their current situation to justify the salary, the extension, and the trade compensation.
All told, it’s easy to see why Jerry Jones would say there’s no considerable talks with Seattle. They may not have even made an offer.