Earl Thomas has gone from being a fixture in the Baltimore Ravens defense to hitting the NFL free-agent market. That has immediately drawn a link to the Dallas Cowboys, but there hasn’t been any traction in that direction. That opens the door to other possibilities, which has seen one team quickly take their name off the list as a potential suitor for his services.
Earl Thomas hits the open market
Star safety Earl Thomas saw his tenure with the Ravens quickly coming to an end after one season this past weekend due to conduct that is detrimental to the team.
That comes after the former Pro Bowler was involved in an altercation in practice with fellow safety Chuck Clark that saw him punch his teammate. Baltimore sent Thomas home, and he did not return to the team’s practice facility since the incident.
It’s believed that isn’t the only reason that the Ravens elected to let go of Thomas as he had other internal issues. He had been involved in a confrontation with defensive tackle Brandon Williams after losing to the Cleveland Browns last season. He also reportedly missed or was late to several meetings throughout his brief stay in Baltimore.
That effectively makes Thomas a free agent as the Ravens had difficulty finding a trade partner, which they were willing to take a substantial financial ding by letting him go. The organization will have a $15 million salary-cap hit in the 2020 season unless the team can avoid his $10 million guaranteed salary due to his conduct being detrimental to the franchise.
49ers say they are not interested in Earl Thomas
Beyond the Cowboys, a few other teams were tossed around as potential landing spots for Earl Thomas.
Among those organizations were the San Francisco 49ers, which likely came about due to his former Seattle Seahawks teammate Richard Sherman being in the fold. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan has quickly shot down the notion that San Francisco holds any interest in signing Thomas, according to Matt Maiocco of the NBC Sports Bay Area.
“I’m real happy with our safeties,” Shanahan said. “Nothing against Earl, but there wasn’t interest just because we have our team.”
Although Thomas’ addition would bring more stability to their secondary, the 49ers have already committed to their group of safeties. Jimmie Ward is also only a few months removed from signing a three-year, $28.5 million contract extension. Meanwhile, the team is confident in Jaquiski Tartt while they brought aboard Johnathan Cyprien last week.
The 49ers simply have no need at the position, which narrows down Thomas’ options.
Cowboys or bust?
Since the Ravens released Earl Thomas, the Cowboys have remained firmly in the picture as a landing spot.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network recently reported that Dallas wasn’t “expected” to pursue the seven-time Pro Bowler. However, team owner Jerry Jones quickly responded during his interview with 105.3 The Fan that this notion wasn’t valid. (H/T New York Post)
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Jones said on Tuesday during his weekly appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, via Jeff Cavanaugh. “He has no idea what he’s talking about.”
Jones could make a strong push to acquire Thomas, but indications are that the Cowboys are not in hot pursuit. It’s a situation that they will continue to monitor, but there isn’t any clarity about whether Dallas is eyeing a deal now.
Thomas may not have a strong market for his services, but there should be other options on the table. The Cowboys are in his back pocket as a landing spot, but there isn’t anything to suggest that will come to fruition despite the obvious connections. Ultimately, it’s a fluid situation that can see much change in the coming days.