(105.3 The Fan) - Why would the Seattle Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas — in front of media members with whirring cameras including me and God and everybody — openly court a path to the Dallas Cowboys?
On the surface, it might seem Thomas' jog into the wrong locker room after Seattle's 21-12 win at AT&T Stadium should be taken as flattery to the Dallas team he wants to join.
"Come get me,'' the six-time Pro Bowler said into the ear of Dallas head coach Jason Garrett.
But beneath the surface? Sorry. This isn't a Cowboys talent-acquisition story as much as it's a Seahawks talent-retention story.
Thomas first rushed into the Cowboys locker room in search of buddy Dez Bryant, then intercepted Garrett, and moments later exchanged a hug as a whisper with Dallas defensive leader Sean Lee.
But I contend these were all "stage whispers,'' part of a purposeful performance in front of the cameras, the motivation not being a return to his native Texas for the former Longhorns star, but rather being to get the Seahawks to firm up his money.
Thomas has desired a long-term deal with the Seahawks, but instead is under contract for 2018 and due to count $10.4 million against Seattle's cap. They can get out from under that with relative ease, though. And if they somehow decide to cut him?
As Thomas explained later in the locker room when quizzed about his odd scene, ""I've always been a Cowboys fan growing up. The biggest thing when I said 'Come get me,' I didn't literally mean, 'Come get me now.' I'm still in the prime of my career, I still want to be here. But when Seattle kicks me to the curb, please, the Cowboys, come get me. You know? This is the place where I want to be when they kick me to the curb. So that's what I meant by it.''
So sure. If somehow Seattle throws their usually-classy 29-year-old star safety out in the street and he's a free agent? "Come get me'' could happen at a discounted price, even though Dallas has turned the page from older secondary players to kids like Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier, Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown and (relative kid) Byron Jones.
But Earl Thomas' tunnel-walk show, awkward as it is for Seattle, shouldn't be interpreted as an needy overture to the Cowboys, or as a dastardly betrayal to the Seahawks.
"I don't want to get too deep into it,'' said Thomas, with the big reveal of his motivation. "But it's a business.''
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