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Earl Thomas settling family in Austin, 3.5 hours away from Dallas

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The San Francisco 49ers have some questions at safety, and there is a decent chance they dip back into the Seattle Seahawks waters to add depth. Free safety Earl Thomas is hitting the open market, and there has been some speculation the 49ers might take a look at him. There will be competition, with the Dallas Cowboys expected to be in the mix as well.

The Cowboys were connected to him in trade rumors last year, but nothing ever worked out. The Cowboys could use the boost, and Thomas is a Texas native. On Tuesday, we learned that Thomas and his wife have enrolled their kids in Austin.

I’m not a Texas geography expert, so I did a quick Google Map search of the drive from Arlington to Austin. It’s over three hours one-way. That seems far enough that we wouldn’t see Thomas living in Austin and driving to Arlington for work. It’s close enough he could go home on off days and weekends, but it doesn’t strike me as entirely predictive of Thomas’ free agency plans.

The other thing is the tax value of having a residence in Texas. If Thomas signed with the 49ers, he would still have to pay a sizable state income tax for his time in Santa Clara. But there is still some tax value to having a part-time residence in Texas.

Whatever the case, we’ll have to wait one more month for the start of the new league year.