Earl Thomas was born a Dallas Cowboys fan. Despite his desire to play for the Pokes, the stars have never aligned for Thomas to play for his favorite team in his 10-year NFL career. His release from Baltimore has led to rampant speculation that now might finally be the time Thomas fulfills his lifelong dream. According to a radio interview with Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones, there’s still a distinct possibility that might happen.
Earl Thomas’ career in Seattle and Baltimore
Earl Thomas had a stellar start to his NFL career playing his first nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, which included six Pro Bowls, three All-Pro selections, and a Super Bowl title as part of the Legion of Boom defense in 2014. After the 2018 season, Thomas signed a four-year, $55 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens.
Thomas played for the Ravens in 2019, where he finished with 49 tackles, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. He earned his seventh Pro Bowl selection in 10 seasons.
However, this offseason, things went awry for Earl Thomas on and off the field. He got into an altercation with his wife, where she held him at gunpoint in May. Thomas then proceeded to make several missteps of his own, including being tardy on more than one occasion, and getting into a fight with fellow safety Chuck Clark. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Ravens released Thomas.
Dallas Cowboys make a move and free up cap space
As Earl Thomas’ career rapidly spiraled out of control in Baltimore, in Dallas, the Cowboys moved quietly behind the scenes to free up millions. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Dallas restructured the contract of All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith, which reportedly saved the Cowboys $6.7 million against the cap this season.
The Cowboys have made similar moves with Smith’s contract in the past. In those cases, freeing up the funds always resulted in a bigger move, like acquiring an outside free agent or signing a current player to an extension.
In 2015, after modifying Smith’s contract, the Cowboys used the franchise tag on Dez Bryant. The team worked similar moves with Smith in 2016 and 2017, the latter helping the Cowboys save $7 million in cap space. This latest restructuring of Smith’s contract frees up approximately $13 million in cap room for the Cowboys, or enough to sign Thomas.
Cowboys have never denied interest in Earl Thomas
Earlier in the week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted there was interest in Earl Thomas in an appearance on 105.3 The Fan.
“One of the biggest things that you weigh, and it’s the obvious, but it’s right, is you evaluate where we are at safety, where we are at the secondary, where we are at our numbers,” Jones said. “These decisions, like the one you’re talking about with Earl, they’re never served up like a softball. They always come in awkward; they always come in with a little hair on it. That’s where I step in.”
Since that interview, the Cowboys have remained largely quiet on Thomas. That was until Stephen Jones appeared on the same radio station on Thursday. When asked if the team had reached out to the safety, Jones answered with a non-answer.
“We don’t comment on things like that. We found that it probably works better not to say anything until it’s not a point any more or we have him, like Everson Griffen, wearing a Cowboy helmet.”
Earl Thomas has yet to sign with an NFL team. He’s always wanted to play for the Cowboys. Jerry Jones admitted earlier in the week the team was considering Thomas. And now Stephen Jones says the team plans to follow the same protocol on discussing Thomas as it did with Everson Griffen, which the Cowboys signed just a few weeks ago. All signs point to Thomas signing with the Cowboys and fulfilling a lifelong dream. All that’s left now is the official announcement.