Would Cowboys’ fan Earl Thomas give Dallas a discount?

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Quarterback Tony Romo
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Quarterback Tony Romo /

The Dallas Cowboys tried to trade for Earl Thomas in 2018. Now scheduled to hit free agency, would the fandom of the veteran safety help him land in Big D?

The connection between the Dallas Cowboys and All-Pro safety Earl Thomas is well documented. Thomas would have been a member of America’s Team last season but the Seattle Seahawks and the Cowboys could never find common ground on equal compensation.

A former longtime teammate of Thomas in Seattle, defensive end Cliff Avril, told SiriusXM NFL Radio last year that everyone on the Seahawks knew Earl was a huge Cowboys’ fan. Avril said Thomas would even leave work early just to watch Dallas play.

Thomas is clearly a fan of America’s Team. And that’s likely been a lifelong obsession. Thomas grew up in Orange, Texas which is just east of Beaumont on the Texas-Louisiana state line. He famously attended the University of Texas in Austin and played well enough to get selected 14th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Seahawks.

During his time in Seattle, the nine-year veteran has racked up six Pro Bowl bids, five All-Pro nominations and a Super Bowl title (XLVIII).

The Cowboys clearly wanted Thomas just last year. And Earl clearly wants to play in Dallas. It appears to be a perfect match. The only sticking point to the two putting pen to paper this offseason is money. But would the fact Thomas is a fan of the Cowboys help Dallas negotiate a more team-friendly deal in order to play for his favorite team?

Because of the massive popularity of the franchise, we’ve seen several free agents and prospective rookies publicly proclaim their love for all things Cowboys. And when childhood fans actually do end up joining the team, their fandom never seems to play a role in the signing.

But for Thomas, who is scheduled to become a free agent next month, he can name his price. But the 29-year old clearly wants to be respected financially as well. Thomas was even willing to sit out the entire offseason last year in an effort to get a contract extension or traded.

Thomas ended his holdout prior to the start of the regular season, but Seattle’s disrespect towards him would not be forgotten. Less than a month later Thomas would appear to be shooting the bird towards Seattle’s sideline after suffering a leg injury that ended his season four games in.

Dallas Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones confirmed earlier this week that they’ve discussed adding a safety in free agency this offseason. All signs point to Thomas being their top target. If the two sides meet, the fact Earl wants to play in Dallas and loves the team could certainly help in those negotiations. But he also wants to be respected financially as the top safety in the NFL.

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Last season, Earl Thomas had a salary cap hit of $10.4 million. The top paid safety in the NFL in 2018 according to overthecap.com was the Kansas City Chiefs’ Eric Berry at $13 million. That gives you some sort of ballpark as to where possible negotiations might end up.