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Of all the great mysteries you may come across in your summer reading the next couple of months, the Curious Case of Earl Thomas won't test your faculties much.

In Chapter 1, the great safety chases down Dallas Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett during the season and begs to be rescued. Chapter 2 finds the general manager failing to execute the plan during the draft.

Flustered by the Cowboys' efforts, the hero holds out in Chapter 3, hoping to motivate his captors.

And in Chapter 4, the Cowboys, who'd created cap room with the release of a former cornerstone, make just enough through another deal to pay the ransom.

Frankly, if this story doesn't end with Thomas roaming the Cowboys' secondary, I don't know my cheap novels.

From everything you hear and read, Jerry Jones might have to give the Seattle Seahawks a second-round pick to acquire Thomas' services. Chances are the Cowboys are waiting for the price to come down. If it requires a second, done. Not to get too primitive here, but draft picks are valuable. This was a concept lost on the Cowboys during their long period wandering in the wilderness, and they're just now digging themselves out by rediscovering their youth. Just the same, even a good plan rates an occasional exception.

Let me remind you of what Earl Thomas brings to the table. True, safeties have been marginalized in today's game. A safety such as Roy Williams, a beast in his prime, is pretty much an anachronism now. But Thomas isn't that type. He remains, even at 29, the best center fielder in football. He's also been the spiritual leader of one of the greatest defenses in football. A probable Hall of Famer, if you go for that sort of thing.

The Cowboys could certainly use a player of his caliber. Rod Marinelli has a star at linebacker in Sean Lee and another in the making in DeMarcus Lawrence. A big-time defensive back would provide most of what this defense lacks to be a Super Bowl contender.

He'd also become the Yoda a young secondary needs. Imagine what Thomas might unlock for Byron Jones at cornerback. Or what an inquisitive Xavier Woods could learn from one of the game's great pros.

The last Cowboys safety who wielded such influence was Darren Woodson, which was so long ago even Woody probably doesn't remember. Also reminds me:

If safeties are so easy to come by, how come the Cowboys haven't found one all these years?

Besides all the reasons above, let's consider a few quick hitters.

In matters related to roster-building, the Cowboys should ask: What Would Howie Do? Howie Roseman practically re-invented the lost art of trading while building a Super Bowl roster with the Philadelphia Eagles. If he were in Jerry's shoes, he wouldn't think twice about adding a piece as critical as this one.

For all of you Dez Bryant fans wondering why the Cowboys would give up on your favorite player and the No. 1 receiver, this is a pretty good excuse. Cutting Dez provided much of the cap space they needed.

Losing Dez isn't so awful if it allows the Cowboys to add Thomas, is it?

And adding Thomas stops all the nonsense about bringing back Dez. Enough already.

Speaking of cap space, the Cowboys managed to make the NFL's best guard, Zack Martin, the highest-paid guard while simultaneously saving $3 million on his cap hit this year. Don't ask me how they do this. But this is what I always tried to tell my geometry teacher when she preached about the immutability of math.

The Cowboys have already prepped for Thomas' coming by hiring his former secondary coach, Kris Richard. Not that it wouldn't have worked out, anyway. But at least there's no doubt about the fit.

Not only does Thomas make the Cowboys immensely better at free safety, he makes the competition at strong safety better between Woods and Jeff Heath while improving the depth.

Dealing for Thomas would explain why the Cowboys didn't trade up a couple of spots when Derwin James unexpectedly fell out of the top 10 in the draft. The Florida State safety went to the Chargers at 17, just two spots before the Cowboys took Leighton Vander Esch.

If Earl Thomas is playing safety for you the next four or five years, it doesn't matter so much what James does.

Anyway, you can see where all these clues are leading. Even a dope like me can see how it all turns out. Sorry if I ruined it for you.

Sports on 06/20/2018

Print Headline: Thomas saga could end in Dallas

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