On Wednesday, the Dallas Cowboys reportedly interviewed a trio of free-agent safeties including Damontae Kazee, Malik Hooker, and Jayron Kearse. And now, it appears the Cowboys have made their choice.
According to The Atheltic’s Jon Machota, the Cowboys have agreed to sign Kearse to a one-year contract. A seventh-round selection out of Clemson in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound safety played the majority of his snaps on special teams over his first three seasons in the league.
In his last year in Minnesota, Kearse started three games and recorded 28 tackles and one interception while playing only 25% of the defensive snaps in 2019. The 27-year old signed with the Detroit Lions last season, starting in a career-high seven games and recording 59 combined tackles, two pass deflections, and forcing one fumble.
The Cowboys currently have Donovan Wilson, Keanu Neal, and Darian Thompson on the depth chart at safety. Adding Kearse gives the Cowboys another veteran safety who has some starting experience that can also play special teams.
Whether Kearse pushes Wilson or Neal for a starting role is unknown. And his presence on the roster would not hinder the Cowboys from using a high-draft selection in the upcoming NFL draft on a safety prospect.
Xavier Woods, who started 15 games for the Cowboys last season, is also still available as a free agent and could make his return. And the signing of Kearse doesn’t necessarily prohibit Dallas from taking a flier on Hooker or Kazee either, both of whom are coming off season-ending Achilles injuries.
Jayron Kearse joins a flurry of defensive additions made by the Dallas Cowboys since free agency kicked off last week. Kearse will be added to a fresh cast of defenders for new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in Dallas that includes fellow safety Keanu Neal and defensive line additions Tarell Basham, Brent Urban, and Carlos Watkins.