In the midst of lying season, Stephen Jones was spitting truth.
Two days after the Cowboys‘ vice president strongly indicated the team would add a veteran free agent (or two), cornerback Daryl Worley — he of 49 career starts — broke the news that he’s headed to Big D.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport followed up Wednesday, reporting the Cowboys signed Worley to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal are not yet known.
A 2016 third-round draft pick, Worley began his professional career in Carolina, making 31 appearances and starting 25 games over two seasons. He logged 113 solo tackles, 19 pass deflections, and three interceptions before the Panthers shipped him to the Eagles in exchange for wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Worley was cut by the Eagles in April 2018 following an alleged altercation with police, and subsequent arrest, in south Philadelphia.
He wasn’t unemployed for long, however. Eight days later the Raiders signed Worley, who served a four-game suspension that season for violating the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. He totaled 33 tackles, seven PBUs, and an INT across 10 games (nine starts) during his inaugural Raiders campaign.
Then-Oakland tendered Worley, a restricted free agent, in 2019. He was a more prominent contributor for the club, starting 15 games, deflecting eight passes, and picking off one.
Worley, 25, was allowed to hit unrestricted free agency this past March, drawing little known interest.
He becomes the second CB that Dallas has inked this offseason, joining former Raven and Jet Maurice Canady. The team, forced to remodel its secondary, also re-signed backup corner Anthony Brown and brought aboard ex-Packers star Ha Ha Clinton-Dix after losing starting CB Byron Jones and safety Jeff Heath in free agency.
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Worley tested well at the 2016 Scouting Combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds and completing 14 bench-press reps. He recorded a 35.5-inch vertical jump and 123-inch broad jump.
NFL.com draft expert Lance Zierlein assigned a fifth- to sixth-round grade on Worley, whom he compared to former Ravens CB Tray Walker.
“Worley has excellent ball skills, but lacks the agility and hips to maintain his feel for receivers underneath,” Zierlein wrote in his scouting profile. “A move to a defense that employs more press and trail technique should benefit him and teams looking for range and instincts could try him at free safety. Worley’s traits make him worthy of a Day 3 draft selection, but his success may be tied to his scheme fit.”
Fit with Cowboys
Worley, a 2015 first-team All-Big 12 selection at West Virginia, slides into a suddenly-logjammed CB corps led by Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, prized second-round rookie Trevon Diggs, and fourth-rounder Reggie Robinson.
Worley is solid against the run and equally capable of manning the pass along the boundary or in the slot. This might make him an ideal candidate to transition to safety, and perhaps to start opposite Xavier Woods.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy revealed after the draft that a corner among the revamped group — he didn’t specify who — is likely to pull double duty for new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
“I’m very comfortable with the flexibility we have throughout our secondary players,” McCarthy said, via The Athletic. “I’m not as caught up in traditional free safety or strong safety as some may be. What I like about our numbers in the back end is that we have great competition and excellent flexibility. We may have some players that can not only play corner but can also slide over and play some safety.”
The other contender to play both ways is Awuzie, who vacillated between the defensive backfield during his collegiate career at Colorado.
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