We are squarely in the middle of training camp and one of the biggest storylines concerning the Dallas Cowboys is a player that was released by the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, it’s true that veteran safety Earl Thomas is still a free agent.
Obviously it is more difficult than just considering his football talents for any team to sign him. Clearly the Cowboys have a history of sorts (that’s what we’ll call it) with Thomas and therefore are a logical destination for him in the minds of many. Still though, there is nothing official that has happened as of yet.
Tuesday was a significant yet weird day for this story. When it seemed like Jerry Jones was getting set to announce something with regards to Thomas during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Cowboys had no interest in Thomas. Jerry outright denied that Rapoport knew anything. So what gives then?
This situation might come down to price more than anything
It is rare that players like Thomas are available at this time of year, although the Cowboys did just sign someone of that caliber two weeks ago in Everson Griffen. If you are talking about just football, then it is truly wild that Thomas is still on the market.
Of course the situation is about more than just what he contributes on Sundays. The Ravens are a well-regarded franchise and knowingly released him while absorbing a financial impact. So what is going on here then? On the latest episode of the Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast, NFL insider Charles Robinson expounded on the situation a bit. According to him, this situation might come down to price and it might have to be just right for Thomas to have a locker at The Star.
“The one thing about Dallas that struck me when Dallas started to get talked about this. I know Jerry came out kind of hard today and said nobody knows whether, but me, all this stuff. I thought it was interesting Mike McCarthy recently, and he’s done this a couple of times this offseason, talked about the locker room and how the locker room’s important, chemistry’s important. I know part of his interview with Dallas was talking about, I was told, a key part of it was talking about the Green Bay experience, what he learned about managing different personalities, how important the locker room is, all these different things. I think that factors.”
“I was told by someone in the organization that Jerry absolutely will lean into Mike McCarthy wanting, having the locker room environment he wants. And remember Mike McCarthy extremely close to John Schneider, who is the Seattle Seahawks General Manager, I think he wanted John to be the Packers General Manager when Ted Thompson stepped down. So he’ll know everything he needs to know about Earl Thomas. But and I’ll throw this to you.”
“This always creeps in the back of my mind and it creeps into every player signing when you talk to people in the Dallas organization. Greg Hardy was a player who, and I’m not saying that Earl Thomas is Greg Hardy, but this is an example of players, a player who people in the organization were not 100% in agreement on. There were certain people in the organization who were not big on bringing in Greg Hardy. I’ll name one of them now. Jason Garrett was never big on bringing in Greg Hardy.”
“Jerry went out and really it was a Jerry decision. I’m going to sign this guy, I’m going to structure the deal so that he basically it’s play to pay, get paid. That kind of thing. Not everybody in the organization may need to agree with Earl Thomas or where he’s coming from or what the red flags are. And I think, especially not everybody will have to agree if the price is cheap enough. I think the price will effect it.”
Let me make it crystal clear and re-emphasize that Robinson did not compare Earl Thomas to Greg Hardy. He used Hardy as an example of a player that Cowboys brass was not 100% in agreement on and it seems like that might be the case with Thomas these days, and not just in Dallas, but across the league as a whole.
Clearly a team is going to have to be willing to take on whatever the current status quo with Thomas is. How talented he is makes that pill easier to swallow, as does a team-friendly contract. If Thomas’ price comes down over time then it is possible that an NFL team (maybe the Cowboys) would be more willing to take him on.
Perhaps this is why Jerry Jones kept the door on Earl Thomas open. Or maybe Jerry just wants to stay in the news. Either way this story isn’t quite over, but is anything ever quite over when it comes to the Cowboys?