O’Neil: Cowboys have space for Earl Thomas, but can they give Seahawks enough in a trade?
“If y’all have the chance, come get me.”
That’s what Earl Thomas said to Dallas coach Jason Garrett back on Christmas Eve in Dallas in what was one of the odder ways a Seahawk player has ever celebrated a win.
And the chance that Dallas might indeed come and get Thomas became more fiscally viable on Friday when the Cowboys cut receiver Dez Bryant, freeing up $8.5 million in salary-cap space for the upcoming season.
Now that doesn’t mean the Cowboys are earmarking a bunch of that loot for Thomas, and even if they were, that doesn’t mean the Seahawks are going to trade him.
But with two weeks before the draft, things just got very, very intriguing. If the Cowboys were going to make a run at acquiring Thomas, this is exactly what they’d have to do, which is carve out the cap room to offer Thomas the big-budget extension that the safety is looking for.
Now to be fair, the Cowboys could be carving out cap room for an extension for Zack Martin, their stud-hoss guard. Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence is another candidate for a contract, though he’s currently signed to the franchise-tag tender, which means his salary-cap cost would likely come down if he were to sign a long-term deal. And maybe the Cowboys simply decided that their franchise leader in touchdown catches was less valuable than $8.5 million in cap space.
Now, even if the Cowboys have decided they want Thomas and are willing to pay him, that doesn’t mean that Seattle will trade him.
This is why any deal for Thomas has seemed prohibitively complicated: It will take two agreements for it to happen. First, a team would have to be willing to meet Thomas’ contract demands because that team is going to want more than one season. Second, the team would have to meet Seattle’s asking price.
In other words, you need a team that will not only be willing to offer Thomas a bigger contract than Seattle would, but it will have to ply Seattle with draft picks for the privilege of doing so.
Is Dallas willing to give all that up? We’ll find out over the next two weeks. For now, all we know is they’ve got more money to spend.
Nothing drives like a Vogelwagon
Mariners first baseman Daniel Vogelbach is not built for speed, which is what made his run home on a throwing error so much fun in the bottom of the fifth on Saturday night. Wait. “Run” doesn’t really do the scene justice. Lumbered? Nah, that doesn’t catch the urgency of the situation. Chugged? Yeah. That works. Vogelbach chugged home after Marcus Semien threw wide of third base.
Vogelbach took an easier path home in the seventh inning when he hit a home run into the upper deck in the bottom of the seventh.
The NBA playoffs began this weekend, and I realized that I now like rooting against the Oklahoma City Thunder more than I like rooting for the Golden State Warriors, which is weird because I cheered for the Warriors through 20 years of near-constant futility. I should be relishing this, but honestly, adding Kevin Durant to the group isn’t really all that fair, and as much as I love the style of basketball the Warriors play, it’s not nearly as satisfying to watch a team win when you know they absolutely should.
The Thunder, on the other hand? I’m always ready to root against Oklahoma City, which last night required rooting for the Utah Jazz for the first time ever. And while the Thunder won 116-108 with Paul George making eight 3-pointers, the Thunder are in trouble in this series.
For one thing, George isn’t making eight 3-pointers in any other game this series. For another thing, the Thunder made its first 19 free throws, which is absurd because Oklahoma City ranked No. 29 in the league in free-throw shooting. And finally, with Russell Westbrook spending the next two days hearing everyone croon about how great George is, I’m fully expecting him to come and crank up 30 shots in Game 2 to remind everyone that he’s the big fish in the small pond. Not Paul George.