The Dallas Cowboys addressed every perceived off-season need in the draft or free agency, save for safety.
It’s no coincidence.
While the Cowboys have expressed confidence in 2017 sixth-round pick Xavier Woods being able to step in at free safety with Jeff Heath and blank competing at strong safety, the team has also quietly held out hope of being able to acquire Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas in a trade with Seattle.
A native of Orange, Thomas, who played college football at the University of Texas, has made no secret of his desire to finish his career with the Cowboys if things didn’t work out in Seattle.
There is no question the Cowboys would love to add the proven playmaker to the back end of what is an improving defense. The presence of former Seattle defensive coordinator Kris Richard as the team’s new secondary coach makes it easy to connect those dots.
The Cowboys had already had talks with Seattle about acquiring Thomas at the start of free agency and during the draft.
Seattle's asking price has been too high to get a deal done.
But with Thomas, releasing a statement via Twitter on Sunday that he plans to skip minicamp and all team activities, including training camp, until he gets a new contract, might the Seahawks consider coming down on their asking price and give a trade to the Cowboys renewed hope?
"I will not be attending the upcoming minicamp or any team activities until my contract situation is resolved," Thomas said. "I want everyone, especially the 12s, to know that I want to remain a Seahawk for the rest of my career but also believe that based on my production over the last 8 years that I've earned the right to have this taken care of as soon as possible.
"I want to have certainty in regards to the upcoming years of my career. I'm going to continue to work my craft and put in work so that I can add to the team and give us the best chance to win. I hope my teammates understand where I'm coming from I believe this is the right thing to do."
Thomas, 29, is in the final year of his contract and is set to make $8.5 million in 2018.
He has said a number of times since the end of the season that he wanted a new deal to secure his future and planned to hold out if he didn’t get one.
Thomas skipped Seattle’s voluntary OTAs.
And with the mandatory minicamp coming up this week, he felt the need to make it clear he wasn’t showing up for it either.
The maximum fine amounts for missing minicamp are $14,070 for the first day, $28,150 for the second day and $42,215 for the third day, for a total of $84,435.
Those numbers pale in comparison with what Thomas is hoping to get with a long-term contract extension.
Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs is the league’s highest-paid safety, with an average salary of $13 million per season.
The Seahawks are a team in transition following the departures of defensive end Michael Bennett, defensive end Cliff Avril and cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor possibly being forced to retire because of injuries.
While they want to keep Thomas in Seattle, the Seahawks haven’t shown interest in a contract extension.
That question is something the Cowboys will have to answer as well even if Seattle comes down on its trade demands.
The Cowboys are hoping Thomas would lower his asking price to come home and play for the team he grew up rooting for as a child.
Per OvertheCap.Com, the Cowboys have roughly $11.4 million in cap space.
Of course, they are also in the middle of a little messy contract holdout situation of their own with Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin.
Martin, who is under contract for $9.3 million in 2018, has skipped OTAs in hopes of getting a new deal, and the Cowboys don’t know whether he will show for minicamp, which is set for June 12-14.
Can they satisfy Martin and have enough money left over to pay Thomas? Or vice versa?
Time will tell.
But Thomas’ holdout has certainly given renewed hope of a trade to Dallas.