The temptation for the Cowboys to trade for Seattle safety Earl Thomas increased over the weekend when safety Xavier Woods injured a hamstring in the preseason contest against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Head coach Jason Garrett acknowledged that Woods being sidelined gives Dallas a numbers issue in the defensive backfield. Woods’s backup at free safety, Marqueston Huff, suffered a groin injury in the preseason opener against San Francisco and backup strong safety Jameill Showers might have torn an ACL versus the Bengals.
Woods and Huff will make it back into the lineup, possibly before the middle of September. Initial reports were that Woods would miss four to eight weeks. There are depth issues in the meantime and future injuries could keep the DB unit pretty thin.
So what are the arguments for and against making a deal with the Seahawks to bring Thomas back to his home state and reunite him with Dallas’s new defensive backs coach Kris Richard?
First the cons: The Cowboys have missed their opportunity to drive a hard bargain with Seattle. Now the Seahawks know Dallas needs Thomas, so they’re not very likely to budge off their asking price of a first- or second-round pick. Bringing in a 29-year-old Thomas would be a good boost for this season if he stays healthy. But the upside of a first- or second-round draft pick could last well into the next decade and Dallas would still have the Thomas money to spend on other, younger free agents next offseason.
But the pros: The Dallas defense is shaping up to be better than it has been in years. Demarcus Lawrence had a breakout season a year ago, Sean Lee seems healthy and ready to be a force both as a tackler and a team leader. Linebacker Jaylon Smith and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie have been the stars of training camp, along with Richard. The depth issues in the defensive backfield are the only problem at the moment. Adding Thomas, a six-time Pro Bowler in eight NFL seasons, to the mix would give them a veteran star and a player who has been to multiple Super Bowls.
It comes down to betting on this question: would Thomas be the catalyst for a championship defense or a high-priced mistake?