What complicates matters more at safety for the Cowboys is that Xavier Woods looks like he could be out for the first week of the season with a hamstring injury. While only Week 1 is being mentioned as far as regular season action he could miss, we know hamstring injuries can be relentless.
As of now we’re all supremely confident that these three safeties will be on the Cowboys:
- Jeff Heath
- Kavon Frazier
- Xavier Woods
Outside of this, it’s a crapshoot. OCC pondered the possibilities of some free agent safeties in an earlier article, but I would like to present a choice between a new free agent, and an old name everyone is familiar with by now.
George Iloka could be the answer
It’s true that George Iloka could help the Cowboys at safety, and it’s also true that the Cowboys have interest in him. What remains to be proven true is if they’ll bring him in to do the helping we know he could do. It’s complicated, I know.
Iloka has the body of a strong safety, but he’s not incapable of playing the free. If he were to play strong safety for the Cowboys that would give Jeff Heath the ability to roam as the free safety instead of Xavier Woods if that tickles your fancy. The point is, Iloka helps.
If you ask any Cowboys fans about the prospect of signing George Iloka you’re going to be met with one answer - he’s not Earl Thomas. Such is life this season in Dallas.
Earl Thomas is better, but he’ll obviously cost more
The reason that signing George Iloka is tempting is because he’s likely going to want a one-year deal so that he can prove to the rest of the NFL that he’s still legitimate and worthy of being paid. What better way to highlight your play than to suit up for America’s Team?
Earl Thomas is in no such position. Earl Thomas wants a big-time, long-term contract that reflects his career accomplishments in the league (which are a lot). He’s still only 29 years old (Iloka is 28) and it’s possible that he could play at a high level for years to come, but it’s understandable to have hesitation about throwing a big deal his way.
What’s more about Earl Thomas is that the Cowboys would have to trade away draft capital just to get the opportunity to pay Earl Thomas. He’s Earl Thomas so there are people that feel like this might not matter, but there’s no denying that he is far and away the more expensive option when looking at future cap space and draft picks.
It would be great to have our cake and eat it too
It’s easy to say that you’d rather have Earl Thomas than George Iloka, but the dollars and draft picks attached to both ideas make looking at things in that vacuum impossible; however, it is theoretically possible for the Cowboys to pull off the ultimate victory here.
Imagine:— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) August 19, 2018
- Cowboys sign George Iloka to one-year deal in 2018
- They have more experience this season
- Iloka benefits from a contract year on one of the NFL's most visible teams
- Cowboys have multiple options at safety in 2019 free agency, George Iloka and Earl Thomas
We know that Earl Thomas wants to be a member of the Cowboys (just the way you Lakers fans reading this know that Kawhi Leonard wants to join your NBA team). He’ll be a free agent next year barring a long-term contract extension with the Seahawks (that looks unlikely these days)... the Cowboys could theoretically just wait for that to happen.
People have proposed this before, but the problem with that option has always been that not having Earl Thomas means, well, not having Earl Thomas. Thankfully on Sunday afternoon a bridge appeared, a bridge named George Iloka.
The opportunity exists for the Cowboys and Iloka to benefit from one another while Earl Thomas and the Seahawks continue to file for divorce in the public court of Seattle. After the season plays out and the Cowboys win Super Bowl LIII (YOU KNOW YOU SMILED) they can figure out what they want to do with safeties in free agency, retain George Iloka or sign Earl Thomas. It won’t be hard.
What do you think, BTB? Given the options as they currently stand and the potential future of each domino effect, what would you rather do?
Which would you prefer?
This poll is closed
Cowboys sign George Iloka outright
Cowboys trade for Earl Thomas AND give him big deal