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NFL Free Agency: Updating the safety market and where the Cowboys stand

The safety market in free agency has done brisk business, so where does that leave Dallas?

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL free agency tampering window officially opened on Monday, and with it came a lot of dominoes falling across the league.

For what it’s worth the Dallas Cowboys didn’t go scoreless as they got on the board with Codey McElroy, but their immobility in general has plenty of people upset. The Cowboys need a safety and names like Landon Collins, Kenny Vaccaro, Tyrann Mathieu, LaMarcus Joyner, Adrian Amos and Tashaun Gipson have all found new homes.

Earl Thomas still hangs in the balance but the amount of money handed out seems like it could take Dallas out of the running. Both Collins and Mathieu netted deals that’ll pay them $14M per year, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that that’s what the market value is for elite safeties now. Considering the fact that Earl Thomas is an elite safety that’s likely what it’s going to take to nab him.

Thomas may have slight flaws, but the market makes his value what it is

Earl Thomas is almost 30 years old and only played in four games last season due to injury. He’s only played in 29 games over the last three seasons, but all that being said... he’s Earl Thomas.

These factors might play a role in ET getting a lower offer from teams in any normal year, but with the Collins and Mathieu deals floating out in the world you can bet that Thomas’ agent is going to play things to their advantage. If he’s going to be had, the floor is likely that $14M mark. Or is it?

Some of the key teams thought to be in the running for his services have already signed safeties. And the one everyone thought was the front-runner because of their money situation, San Francisco, hasn’t made their move yet.

The 49ers could have been just waiting for the market to set itself, and now that it has they may swoop in and grab Thomas. As of yet, that hasn’t happened.

There is that next tier of safety where the numbers are more palatable. Adrian Amos got a deal averaging just over $9 million a year. Tashaun Gipson’s deal averages around $7.3 million a year and Kenny Vaccaro got around $6.5 million a year. These numbers are probably much more in the Cowboys range. Besides Thomas, there are still other quality safeties available on the free agent market. Ha Ha Clinton-DIx, Clayton Gathers, Tre Boston, George Iloka, and Jahleel Addae among others are still out there. These players have varying abilities and will command varying levels of dollars in their contracts, but if Dallas is shut out of the elite tier by not getting Earl Thomas, there are still moves they could make. By signing one of the cheaper guys, they could patch a hole for this year, while using the draft to add talent that could play full-time down the road.

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