Monday night word surfaced that the Dallas Cowboys hired a new defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator in the form of Kris Richards.
Richards comes to Dallas by way of Seattle, where he’s served as defensive coordinator since Dan Quinn left beginning with the 2015 season.
The Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys have had a mystical connection over the last decade or so, and a new page was written in that book late on Christmas Eve when Earl Thomas told Jason Garrett to “come get him” should Garrett have the chance in the offseason.
Earl Thomas on visiting Cowboys locker room after game: When the Seahawks kick me to the curb, please, Cowboys, come get me pic.twitter.com/gqp0eb2VFo— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) December 25, 2017
Earl Thomas is signed through 2018 with Seattle, but there have been talks about him being traded due to Seattle looking to re-shape their defensive identity (they did just fire Richard after all). Mike Silver detailed the potential dismantling of the Legion of Boom back in December.
The Seahawks could sign Thomas to a long-term deal, but if they balk and anticipate a potential holdout, they conceivably might look to trade him after the season.
”We can only control what we control,” Thomas said after the game. “The truth always shows. Guys just didn’t play within the scheme today.”
Keep in mind that this was written before Thomas chirped about playing for the Cowboys, so tensions only raised from there. Thomas is a Texas native, a University of Texas product, so Dallas is obviously appealing to him in many ways.
If Seattle is looking to move on from Thomas, Dallas makes more than sense:
- Earl Thomas is already on record saying he wants to play for the Cowboys
- Dallas has needed a safety with his skill set for quite some time
- Most importantly, Kris Richard is now in Dallas and waiting with open arms
One question though, how much would it take to get Thomas from Seattle? Here’s one estimate:
Thomas would be the best free agent in the game in 2019. The longer he plays, the closer he moves toward Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration. But there might be a temptation before he hits the open market to trade him for high value. Like Richard Sherman last year, the Seahawks can’t think about dealing Thomas for anything less than a first round and fourth round pick. Still, it would be better to keep him because he is in his prime. Thomas makes $10 million a year, but he’s going to ask for top dollar after the 2018 season.
Out in Seattle some are already worried about the Thomas/Richard/Cowboys connection.
The hiring of Richard by Dallas may raise some angst among Seahawks fans about the future of free safety Earl Thomas, who can be an unrestricted free agent following the 2018 season and memorably let it be known last month that if he is ever “kicked to the curb” by Seattle he wants the Cowboys to pick him up. Richard was with Thomas for all eight seasons of each of their Seattle careers to date, each arriving in 2010.
The NFL is a world where things are always changing and constantly in motion. Kris Richard is a strong hire for the Cowboys, a potential defensive coordinator candidate for the post-Marinelli days, and a potential key to landing Earl Thomas.