Why a Dallas Cowboys – Earl Thomas trade is closer than you think

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

Previous attempts to acquire Earl Thomas indicate the Dallas Cowboys are not only good with trading a draft pick, but also re-signing the All-pro to a multiyear deal.

The phrase, “beating a dead horse” comes to mind when stories about the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas pop up. This storyline has dominated Dallas headlines since before the 2017 season even ended.

Since the day the Seattle All-Pro safety yelled “Come get me!” from the locker room tunnel, we’ve been transfixed on the idea. And while no measurable steps on this trade has been made, the rumors and fervent discussion have been ceaseless.

As if the fire needed further sparking, Cliff Avril offered the magnesium, telling the world that Earl Thomas used to run home early to watch Dallas Cowboys games whenever it was possible. Sports writers everywhere jumped on that, penning columns to fill this early summer dead period, and consequently laying further beatings to the flat-lining equestrian.

Why the Earl Thomas Talk Will Not End

There’s a very valid and very simple reason this trade talk with Earl Thomas and the Dallas Cowboys won’t end: It’s because it’s real.

This isn’t just a rumor, perpetuated by the media to get clicks, or by the player to gain leverage in contract negotiations. It’s real interest. In fact, there have been confirmed attempts to make it happen.

The Details are Already Worked Out

On Day 2 of the NFL Draft, the Cowboys intended to use their second round pick to trade for the 29-year-old former All-Pro. Only the surprise slide of offensive lineman Conner Williams got in the way of its consummation.

But we cannot ignore the Cowboys were willing to send a second round pick to make this happen.

This unequivocally tells us a few things:

at one point they appeared to be ready to pay the price it took to acquire Earl Thomas from Seattle. That tells us all we need to know, because nothing on this roster has changed since then.

  1. They want Earl Thomas to be their starting free safety.
  2. They are not afraid of the cost to acquire Thomas. With such a high cost (second rounder), they intend to re-sign Thomas and not just use him as a one-year rental.
  3. They know what Thomas is seeking in a new deal and they are willing to pay it.

These are all pretty important details. The fact that this deal came so close to being made tells us everything we need to know about how they view Thomas and what they intend to do with Thomas. It would be almost shocking if a deal wasn’t completed at some point this summer.

Fans Divided

Obviously fans are divided on this. On one hand you have a proven vet who is the absolute best at what he does. He has a recent medical history and a hefty price tag, but the elite skill is undeniable.

On the other hand you have a young buck in Xavier Woods. The 2017 sixth round draft pick has been a favorite “pet cat” in Cowboys Nation (me included). His needle is pointed up and his price tag is a fraction of what Thomas’ is.

While some fans want the sure thing, others are perfectly content rolling the dice on a lesser version, if it means the club can save a premium draft pick and use that $10-$14 million per year somewhere else.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what’s the smart move, the frugal move, the long-sighted move, etc… It only matters what the Cowboys think. And at one point they appeared to be ready to pay the price it took to acquire Earl Thomas from Seattle.

That tells us all we need to know, because nothing on this roster has changed since then. This is dragging out because it CAN drag out. Without the pressure of the draft, the deadline to get this trade done has moved right. Will it be before training camp? During camp? After camp? Will it take an Earl Thomas holdout to push it along?

Those are all questions for another day. Today, we just know that this is still a story because it’s real. We know the Cowboys are interested and we know what that interest entails. Of course the Cowboys spoke glowingly of Xavier Woods. They legitimately like the kid. But their endorsement probably has more to do with leveraging the price down, than it does about Woods’ progress.

This deal is going to get done. It’s only a matter of time. That’s why this story won’t die. That’s why it’s been beaten like a dead horse. The Cowboys already told us they want Earl Thomas, we just need to sit back and wait.

Next: How it helps the Cowboys if Earl Thomas keeps holding out

Not too long ago the Cowboys were willing to send a second round pick to acquire Earl Thomas. Since you don’t spend a second day pick on a one-year rental, we can assume they had every intention of re-signing him long-term. It’s safe to say they are well aware of what he wants and felt good with it or they wouldn’t have planned out the trade so thoroughly.

We keep asking whether Dallas wants to do this or not. They already answered us. They want Earl. The only question now is can get the deal done for a slightly less-valuable pick?