Dallas Cowboys: Is Earl Thomas worth the trouble?

Earl Thomas #29 (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Earl Thomas #29 (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Is it worth it for the Dallas Cowboys to bring Earl Thomas into their locker room?

Former Texas Longhorn and Seattle Seahawk, Earl Thomas is now a free agent. Not too long ago Thomas rushed into the Cowboys locker room after a game, still in his Seahawks gear, and told the Cowboys to “come get him.” Now that he is available again is it worth it for the Cowboys to invest in him?

Dallas has had a huge hole at safety ever since Darren Woodson retired. The Cowboys were No. 23 in the league last year in pass defense, according to Football Outsiders. They lost Byron Jones in free agency, but have added a few new pieces to their secondary. These pieces include safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix, cornerback Daryl Worley, second-round pick Travon Diggs, and fourth-round pick Reggie Robinson II.

Here is what CBS writer Patrik Walker reported about the situation.

To back up what McCarthy has said about the safety play in camp, let’s compare Xavier Woods‘ and Thomas’ 2019 campaigns. In 15 games last season Woods had 77 tackles, one tackle for loss, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and an Approximate Value of six from Pro Football Reference. Thomas had 49 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and an Approximate Value of seven from Pro Football Reference.

McCarthy has talked to Will McClay about possibly acquiring Thomas, but he still questions whether or not Thomas is a locker room fit. Since 2018 Thomas has seemed like quite the loose cannon. ESPN Staff Writer Jamison Hensley laid out the timeline of Thomas’ descent in a recent article.

"Sept. 30, 2018: The last image of Thomas in a Seattle Seahawks uniform was him extending his right middle finger toward Seahawks coach Peter Carroll. In a Week 4 game at Arizona, Thomas flashed the gesture while leaving the field on an injury cart, with his broken left leg in an air cast. Thomas later said he didn’t regret that action because he didn’t think Carroll was being genuine when he showed concern on the field after the injury.April 13, 2020: Thomas’ wife was arrested in Texas after police said she pointed a loaded gun at her husband’s head during an argument. Nina Thomas was charged with first-degree felony burglary of a residence with intent to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to court documents. Nina Thomas told police she confronted her husband at a rental home because she believed he was cheating on her, according to an arrest warrant. Earl Thomas was not arrested, and news of the incident wasn’t reported until the following month.May 5, 2020: Earl Thomas indicated in an Instagram video, which he later deleted, that TMZ would be releasing details of the altercation and said he wanted to “get ahead” of the report. “It’s not really anybody’s business,” he said. “It pisses me off that it got out, but it’s the world we live in today. But instead of talking about us, just keep us in y’all’s prayers. Stuff like this happens.” This was the first time the Ravens become aware of the situation. Thomas never notified the team, which learned of the incident from social media.Aug. 21, 2020: Toward the end of the fourth training camp practice, Thomas decided to blitz and Mark Andrews caught a long touchdown pass in the area where Thomas was supposed to be covering. Chuck Clark ripped off his own helmet and threw it to the ground. Thomas and Clark argued on the sideline, where Thomas punched his fellow safety, according to a source. Coaches and teammates separated them. After practice ended, the Ravens sent Thomas home.Aug. 22, 2020: Thomas was told to stay home and not report to the facility for practice. Later, Thomas posted a video of the play on social media that showed the busted coverage and Clark throwing his helmet in anger, which made the normally mild-mannered Clark look like the instigator. Thomas wrote: “A mental error on my part. A busted coverage that I tried to explain calmly [met] with built-up aggression turned into me getting into it with a teammate.” Thomas then deleted the video, which could be seen as a violation of team rules. The Ravens prohibit the publishing of videos of team drills."

"Aug. 23, 2020: At 12:26 p.m. Sunday, the Ravens announced they were parting ways with Thomas with this 16-word tweet: “We have terminated Earl Thomas’ contract for personal conduct that has adversely affected the Baltimore Ravens.”Thomas posted on Instagram 21 minutes later: “Had a great run…Wish things would have ended different but you live and you learn.”"

Thomas’ off the field behavior is not the only concern with adding him to the roster. The Cowboys only have $14,846,894 in cap space, according to OverTheCap.com. Now you might be asking yourself “$14,846,894 in cap space, isn’t that a lot?” Not really when you add on the fact that Dallas will be wanting to sign Dak Prescott to a long-term deal in the near future.

That cap space would be best served being used in an emergency or rolled over to next year’s cap. Dallas has got to find a way to sign Prescott for the future. That has got to be priority number one. Is Thomas being on the team really worth a second franchise tag for Prescott? Not when his cap number would be lower on a long-term deal.

You also have to consider Thomas’ age and injury history. He hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2015. He is not going to get more durable as he gets older.

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Overall there is a lot to consider when analyzing this situation. The Cowboys are going to be scrutinized regardless of the path they choose. That is just how it works with the media and Dallas. However, it just doesn’t seem like now is the time to add a player with as many question marks as Thomas has around him.

The Cowboys have been hurting for a safety for years and there are Texas ties with Thomas, but a homecoming doesn’t seem like the best fit for the team or the player. The Cowboys have worked for years to get solid character guys in their locker room. Now is not the time to mess with that chemistry. Not to mention Woods looks like he is ready to break out and be that safety.

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The Dallas Cowboys would be smarter to invest their cap space in making sure that Prescott stays behind center for many more years to come.

  • Published on 08/25/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 08/25/2020 at 07:14 AM