After the game, reporters caught Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas running to catch up with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett before Garrett disappeared into the Cowboys' locker room. The two exchanged words that were inaudible, right up until the moment that Thomas loudly told Garrett to "come get me" if the Cowboys ever get the chance.
When Thomas met with reporters, he was asked about his comment. He explains below:
"I don't literally mean, 'Come get me now,'" he said. "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. This is the only place I'd rather be if I get kicked to the curb."
The biggest shock here is that Thomas would say something like that in front of reporters and cameras -- not that he should take flak for just being honest, considering there's no harm in him planning for the future. The idea itself really isn't that shocking when you take a look at Thomas' situation.
Thomas is from Orange, Texas. He played college ball at the University of Texas. He grew up a Cowboys fan. He clearly still feels an emotional attachment to Texas. In an essay for The Players' Tribune two years ago, Thomas wrote the following:
"My heart and soul belong to Orange, Texas. It's where I found my faith and my love for football."
"Yeah, at first glance Orange might not look like all that much. But to me, it's faith, it's family and it's football. No matter where I am, Orange is home."
And then there's the matter of Thomas' contract, which expires after the 2018 season. Thomas' dead cap next year is actually set at only $1.9 million, according to Spotrac, which means the Seahawks could in theory cut him and save $8.5 million. Cutting a player of Thomas' caliber would be borderline insane, so nobody should count on that.
But would it really be that surprising to see Thomas and the Seahawks part ways after next season?
Thomas will be 30 when the 2019 season begins. It's entirely possible that the Seahawks will decide Thomas is past his prime and not worth another huge financial commitment that could stretch into his mid-30s. Maybe the Seahawks will begin to transition away from a team built around its top defense and more of a team built around quarterback Russell Wilson. The core of the defense is aging. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett might be nearing the end of their primes, and most of them have dealt with serious injuries in the past year. It's not far-fetched to think the Seahawks' defense won't look the same in two years. And that means Thomas could be kicked to the curb, as he said.
Thomas, drafted by the Seahawks No. 14 overall in 2010, is arguably the most important member of the Seahawks' vaunted Legion of Boom. He's been named first-team All-Pro three times. Since 2010, only one safety has more interceptions than Thomas. Even if his time in Seattle does end in the near future, he should be regarded as a franchise legend.