The Earl Thomas situation is bizarre. Even at 31 years old, the former Seattle Seahawk proved he's still one of the best safeties in the league last season. In fact, Thomas held opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of 25.2 when targeted in coverage – the best such mark in the NFL.
Despite that, he was released by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, with the organization citing conduct detrimental to the team. His recent transgressions have been well documented by now.
Currently a free agent, Thomas looked destined to land with the Dallas Cowboys. However, in a surprise turn, it looks like the Cowboys are officially out of the hunt – making Thomas' destination one of the most intriguing storylines in the league right now.
With Dallas reportedly out of the Thomas sweepstakes, let's take a look at the three most likely landing spots for the seven-time Pro Bowler.
3. Cleveland Browns
For the foreseeable future, anytime there's a big-name player available in free agency or the trade block, expect to hear the Cleveland Browns come up. With a league-best $38 million in available cap space, Cleveland has more than enough room to ink Thomas, or any star, to a lucrative one-year deal. Plus, with the season-ending injury to rookie Grant Delpit the Browns do have an obvious hole at safety.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Veteran stars are flocking to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And why wouldn't they? After adding Tom Brady, the team clearly has a one-to-two year window, at best, and it seems like the franchise is going all-in on a Super Bowl run. They also have a need for a veteran safety, with Justin Evans (who missed all of 2019) and Antonine Winfield Jr. (a rookie) set to start in 2020. There's an obvious roadblock with cap space, as Tampa Bay actually has the least available space in the league. But teams always find a way to make this work. They could restructure some deals by converting some salary into signing bonuses. It'll be tricky, but it's not out of the question financially and there's an obvious need.
1. San Francisco 49ers
If the San Francisco 49ers want to get back to the Super Bowl, ET may be their best bet. Financially San Francisco isn't exactly flush with cash but at $10.3 million John Lynch should be able to make something work. In terms of fit, Jimmie Ward was excellent at free safety in 2019 – but he's versatile enough to move to strong safety without too much trouble. Signing the former Seahawk would instantly give SF one of the best safety duos in the NFL. Plus, Richard Sherman has quite a bit of experience with Thomas, so perhaps he'd be able to reign him in a bit. It'd be a gamble, but it would dramatically raise this team's ceiling.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.