The Dallas Cowboys have been playing mind games with the media in regards to Earl Thomas. Is something big coming?
Lost in the excitement of kickoff weekend was news that the Dallas Cowboys restructured the contract of All-Pro left guard Zack Martin. The move freed up an additional $8 million of salary cap space for a team that already has roughly $15 million available to them.
They also added a voidable year to the deal of defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence which created an additional $15 million dollars of salary cap space.
A simple observation would be that the team is simply creating space so that it can roll it over next year for quarterback Dak Prescott. Fairly simple response until you realize that they could have done it next year without having to prolong their guaranteed money. An odd time to do this unless they have plans to sign someone not named Prescott.
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For those who aren’t aware, any vested veteran that signs after the start of the season don’t have their contract guaranteed for the remainder of the season. If Dallas did decide to sign Thomas after Week One, this could be a good tool the team can use if he isn’t deemed as a good fit at some point. This also gives the player incentive to show his worth.
I call this a win-win scenario for both team and player. Thomas can show that he’s not a malcontent and will play to the best of his abilities in order to sign what could be his last high dollar NFL contract. The Cowboys get a motivated All-Pro with limited financial liability.
So why all the hush-hush between team and player at this point?
The Dallas Cowboys have refreshingly shown the ability to create advantages for their football team. Recently, Dallas elected to have no names or numbers on their jerseys during a televised scrimmage in an effort to hide players they were hoping to land on their practice squad.
And there was a report just last week that the Cowboys were set to have a meeting with Thomas, although owner and general manager Jerry Jones publicly declined any knowledge of it.
Now, I’m not saying that the Cowboys have meet with Thomas or have some sort of secret agreement with him. All I’m saying is when pressed to talk about him, Jerry Jones seemed to make it a point to confuse everyone with his contradicting answers.
Here’s what Jones told 105.3 The Fan (via Pro Football Talk) at the beggining of the month about whether the team has or has not had discussions about Thomas.
"” … [Earl Thomas] would be one of several that we would discuss during this particular time as we finalize this roster. It would be a misleading thing to say we haven’t discussed him, it would be a misleading thing to say that we have.”"
Why drag a storyline so far when it could affect the current starters on the roster? My guess is that Thomas and the Cowboys have probably already spoken. And the team may look to add him to their roster after the first week of the season.
Now, this is all speculation on my part. And newly added Brandon Carr could certainly fill the void of the current low numbers of safeties on the roster. Yet, Carr could also be that bridge and veteran player needed to keep someone like Thomas in-line. Both played together in Baltimore last season.
If Thomas believes he’ll land in Dallas soon, he’s likely already preparing to do so. Watching how the Cowboys schematically run their defense against the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday could theoretically help shorten any learning curve he would face.
Thomas is a 10-year NFL veteran, so learning a new scheme might not be that difficult. Schemes vary but a certain coverage is the same everywhere. The verbiage is what Thomas will have to get used to, but it shouldn’t be all that difficult for such a cerebral player.
Adding someone like Earl Thomas to the Dallas Cowboys’ locker room would be a risk after flaming out with two other NFL organzations. But the seven-time Pro Bowler could also be the type of defensive monster that could catapult this Cowboys’ defense into title contention.