Fish Column: What does Earl Thomas in Texas Really Mean

Mike Fisher
February 13, 2019 - 4:02 pm
AP Julio Jones

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)


FRISCO (105.3 The Fan) - If you carefully peruse what I've said over the course of the last couple days about Earl Thomas and the Dallas Cowboys, you'll note how careful I've been to not attempt to create some overinflated connection between the two.

He is a coveted free-agent safety, and for the last year, he's been coveted by the Cowboys. There is no on-field or in-wallet reason for that to change now. Meanwhile, he's left Seattle (and his lovely home in Bellevue, Washington) to, as I've put it, "set up housekeeping'' in Austin, Texas.

As I reported on Tuesday, Nina and Earl Thomas have their family in Austin right now, and I'm told with children enrolled in school there. The Orange, Texas native and proud alum of the University of Texas is also apparently opening up a retail business in Austin.

Does that cement a connection yet? Not really, as the Thomases have spent their offseasons before in Austin, and have family in the area, of course.

So, no. The Thomases in Austin guarantee nothing at it regards the Dallas Cowboys or the Houston Texans or any other potential suitor. Indeed, the move could be about all the aforementioned ideas, or just about wanting to work out in Austin, or to be there in order to be in constant contact with his Austin-based agent now that he's hitting free agency.

But no matter what the Thomases have done in previous offseasons, this time around is clearly different in at least one way: In the wake of last year's lengthy holdout, this figures to be the first time in his NFL career that Earl won't follow up his offseason trip away from Seattle without returning to the Seahawks.

The Cowboys have played coy here, COO Stephen Jones recently telling us on 105.3 The Fan, "I think our hands are going to be full paying our own guys. People may not like it but we're not big advocates of free agency. I don't think we make our living out here paying for free agents. I don't see that being the case especially because we got some really good football players on our team that need to be paid."

Yet later in the same conversation, Stephen added: "We got a handful of draft picks and we'll go to work. It doesn't mean we won't play free agency at all.''

It's the easiest bet going that Dallas explores the idea of the University of Texas product Thomas. And the bet looks at least a little bit easier with Earl Thomas "setting up housekeeping'' in the Cowboys backyard.