Cowboys: Is Jerry Jones banking on Earl Thomas?

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13: Julian Edelman
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13: Julian Edelman /

Recent quotes by the Cowboys outspoken owner, Jerry Jones, may have alluded to adding Earl Thomas to the Cowboys mix at safety.

There’s just no other logical explanation. At the NFL Combine this past weekend, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stepped up to the mic and spoke his mind about a variety of topics. One of which was regarding the future of Byron Jones and the status of the safety position.

Said Jerry about moving Byron from safety to cornerback,

"“With the makeup of where we are, it’s better. We’ll get more of what he does the best at corner than we will back at safety…that also speaks highly of what else we’ve got back there at safety, too.”"

Say what?

At face value, Jerry’s ill-founded confidence in his stable of safeties is hard to understand. How exactly is a unit comprised of Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier, and Xavier Woods so good you feel ok with diverting resources to another position group.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like Kavon Frazier and Xavier Woods as in-the-box safeties. But there is no one, I repeat, no one on this roster we should feel good about playing that all-too-important centerfield role Kris Richard and the Cowboys are expected to lean on in 2018.

Even accepting Jerry is a glass-half-full kinds guy, calling the safety position anything other than a position of concern is downright delusional.

Again, Dallas has some talent at safety. But the one glaring weakness on the Cowboys was that of the deep centerfielder. It’s that player who’s often tasked with playing deep zone in the Cowboys single high safety coverage.

While Jerry didn’t say Earl Thomas’ name (would have been a fineable offense had he anyway), the availability of Thomas provides the only logical explanation. Even accepting Jerry is a glass-half-full kinds guy, calling the safety position anything other than a position of concern is downright delusional.

In fact, given the Cowboys current personnel, I’d call the free safety spot THE MOST concerning position on the team. More than receiver and more than linebacker. That not only speaks to the players on the roster but to the importance of the position on Kris Richard’s defense.

There’s simply no other explanation than that of acquiring Earl Thomas from the Seahawks.

Thomas, widely regarded as the best free safety on the planet, is under contract for the 2018 season, so it’s going to take more than just interest from Jerry Jones to make this happen. But after Thomas famously yelled to Jason Garrett, “come get me”, rumors have circulated he’s on his way out of Seattle and Dallas is his desired landing spot.

This morning the Seahawks are publicly backing off this stance and now saying they are more intent on a long-term deal than trading him. This could be posturing or it could be truth – if they seem too desperate to trade they will tank the value.

At what cost?

If Jerry felt good about having the inside track on Thomas this offseason, it’s easy to see why he’d feel good about the safety position group as a whole. Kavon Frazier is a great run-stopper in the box, Woods is strong in man coverage inside, and Heath is provides solid depth across the board. With an All-Pro like Earl Thomas holding down the fort at free safety, this secondary may even have top-10 potential in 2018.

But being nearly 29-years old and only under contract for a year, Thomas isn’t going to fetch the reward Seattle is said to be seeking. And since Thomas has said he wants to play in Dallas, any team other than the Cowboys would be weary of investing in someone who would only be a one year rental.

With no picks in the second or third round, Seattle would likely be happy settling for a Day 2 pick as compensation. But again, would a team other than Dallas want to hand over a Day 2 pick for an expensive one year rental? Probably not.

Maybe Jerry knows (or feels) something we don’t. Maybe he’s already written Thomas’ name onto the Cowboys safety depth chart and that’s why he feels so darn good moving Byron Jones to corner.

And then maybe Jerry’s just delusional and drinking his own blue Kool-Aid. Moving Bryon seems like the right move, but it’s the right move because of Byron’s skillset and lack of progress at safety.

Next: How Kris Richard will impact the Cowboys defense

For Jerry to specifically state his happiness with the personnel at safety tells me he has something planned. Either that or I need to have a drink of that Kool-aid he’s been hiding in his desk…