KAZ’S KORNER

If one sees boot marks on Seattle Seahawks’ four-time All-Pro safety Earl Thomas’ hiney at 3:01 p.m. today, then his speculation about being kicked to the curb by his team of nine seasons was absolutely true.

This is the quip that Earl made to Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett after a game between the two teams late in the 2017 season. 

Nobody really believed this would happen, although Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones did offer Seattle a third-round pick during last year’s draft for Thomas that was laughed off by both Seattle general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.

The Seahawks needed to keep Earl for the 2018 season because he was the last member of the NFL renowned Legion of Boom who was able to lead the defense that had been one of the NFL’s best for many years.

Earl was leading the league in interceptions (three is the first four games) before suffering another broken leg that ended his season.

 Earl kind of finalized his stay in Seattle when he threw the Seattle bench a middle-finger salute as he was being wheeled off the field. Last week Carroll wished Earl well with his new team during a television interview.

Today, nearly every team could use a free safety of Earl’s caliber, but the amount of cap space will dictate who will really land him for the 2019 season.

The Cowboys still are among the top three candidates for landing the Orange native because they don’t have a star safety on their roster but still won the NFC East in two of the last three seasons. And it’s obvious they should be a playoff-bound team again in 2019.

“But it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Thomas will sign with the Cowboys unless he is willing to take less money, which also appears to be unlikely. As CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported, Thomas wants $13 million per year and won’t give the Cowboys a discount,” according to an article written by Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports last weekend.

But with the safety market as saturated as it is, Thomas might not be able to find the lucrative long-term deal he desires. And if that happens, maybe he would accept a lesser offer to play for the Cowboys.

The Kansas City Chiefs are another team that has shown a great interest in Thomas before he broke his leg and nearing a trade for him.  

“Since then, the Chiefs watched their terrible defense cost them a spot in the Super Bowl,” the article pointed out. 

So on Monday the Chiefs pried Tyrann Mathieu away from the Houston Texans by offering the 26 year old safety a 3 year, 42 million dollar contract which the Texans couldn’t match.

This could make Houston spark an interest in Thomas, although the money he’s wanting is very similar to what the Texans refused to pay Mathieu.

The No. 1 team that wants to sign Earl is the San Francisco 49ers, who are entering the upcoming season with the playoffs and Super Bowl on their mind. 

And with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo coming back and $65 million in available cap space, the 49ers are the most likely team to make the leap from bad to good in 2019, according to the article. Now, they just need to figure out how they’re going to spend all of that money.

One of Earl’s biggest boosters for joining the 49ers is former Seattle teammate and Legion of Boom compadre Richard Sherman, who left the Seahawks last season and is certain the addition of Thomas would improve the defensive secondary 100 per cent. Sherman had what was called “a sneaky good 2018 season.”

“Thomas is the kind of signing that would turn the 49ers into a legitimate playoff contender, even if they might regret the financial commitment when aging inevitably takes its toll,” The article concluded. “And Thomas would make the 49ers significantly better immediately.”

I look for Earl Thomas to find a new team sooner than later. And hopefully he will return to the Lone Star State to do it!!!

KWICKIES…The 20-second clock that was used three weeks ago in the LSU baseball tournament, wasn’t in use last weekend in the Army-Houston series. It must be optional like it is in spring training for the major leaguers…

Former Texas Longhorns quarterback Vince Young, whose last-minute touchdown against Southern Cal in the 2006 Rose Bowl delivered the Longhorns only undisputed national championship in the last 50 years, has been fired by the school from his part-time job as a development officer for poor performance and for being absent from work or not in touch with his supervisors…

Congrats to the Lamar Lady Cardinals for winning their second straight Southland Conference basketball championship which gave them an unprecedented 32-2 conference record for the two seasons and a No. 1 seed in the upcoming SLC tournament…

And the Lamar men’s basketball team finished the season in a blaze of glory by winning their final eight games and finishing fifth in the Southland Conference. The Cards meet Houston Baptist today in the first-round SLC Tournament.

JUST BETWEEN US…Wife Susan and I got to watch the final game of a three-game baseball series last weekend between Army and the University of Houston Sunday in hopes of watching grandson Logan Smith pitch for the Black Knights. We got our wish as he was summoned in the bottom of the seventh inning with the bases loaded with Cougars and Army holding a 7-4 lead. Houston’s leading hitter (.362) and career home run leader (39) Ron Brown was the third out of the inning and Logan had him completely fooled on a breaking pitch off the outside corner. But the 6-3, 258-pound Brown hit a nubber off the end of his bat that blooped between the first and second basemen and the right fielder. The ball was spinning so much it bounced against the stands beyond first base so that all three runners scored, tying the score 7-7. It stayed that way until the bottom of the ninth inning when a base hit and stolen base gave Brown a chance to win the game for the Cougars. And he did exactly that as he took one of Logan’s 90 mph fast ball and rocked it over the right field wall giving the Cougars a 9-7 victory. Logan felt badly after the game, especially because his coach didn’t order an intentional walk to Brown like he should have. Houston had won the first two games 6-3 and 3-2. Army moved on to Nacogdoches for a two-game series against Stephen F. Austin that began last night.