Cowboys Could Cut Veteran Player Months After Signing Him

Jerry Jones

Getty Jerry Jones

Veteran safety Jayron Kearse signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys in March. He might honor less than half of it.

Kearse was named by ESPN’s Todd Archer as the one Cowboys player squarely on the roster bubble — “in danger” — entering training camp, which begins July 21.

Archer, though, admits it’s a coin-flip between the former Lion and longtime Dallas S Darian Thompson, as there may not be room for both in the club’s suddenly cramped secondary.

“The Cowboys do not have a lot of veterans in danger for the traditional reasons, like money, age or draft resources at that spot. So it comes down to Kearse or Darian Thompson, though both could make the final roster,” he wrote. “Thompson started seven games last year and is a core special teamer. Kearse, who is guaranteed just $137,500 on the one-year deal he signed, can do the same. It could come down to the development of sixth-round pick Israel Mukuamu. If he shows he can make the transition from college corner to safety, then Kearse and Thompson will be in a battle. Thompson’s time with the current staff gives him the slightest edge.”

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Background on Kearse

The 27-year-old entered the NFL as a 2016 seventh-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings, for whom he would appear in 47 games, starting two. He recorded 51 tackles, two pass breakups, and a half-sack while primarily contributing on special teams.

Kearse inked a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions in March 2020. Last July, he was suspended three games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Upon return, he logged 11 appearances and seven starts, posting 59 tackles, two PBUs, and one forced fumble before being waived in December. He finished last season as part of the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad.

The nephew of legendary Titans pass-rusher Jevon Kearse, Jayron was a three-year standout at Clemson — a first-team All-ACC choice in 2014 and 2015 and first-team All-American selection in 2015. He totaled 164 career tackles (116 solo, 11.5 for loss), 11 PBUs, seven interceptions, and three sacks with the Tigers. “At times he looked like a Round 1 talent,” his Bleacher Report scouting profile reads.

He’s an ideal single-high safety given his size and range in the middle of the field. His play speed is better than his track speed, and Kearse has shown he can track and cover the ball in quarters or half coverage.

An instinctive player, he has the skills to make the calls for a secondary. Kearse needs to be coached up in his effort and angles but has the tools to be a better pro than college player.

Kearse was among three safeties added by the Cowboys in free agency. The team also signed former Falcons mates Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee. Neal is expected to move to weakside linebacker while Kazee is in line to start opposite Donovan Wilson.

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