Cowboys Defender Leaves Dallas to Sign with Buccaneers

LaDarius Hamilton

Getty LaDarius Hamilton

Ladarius Hamilton went from the outhouse to the penthouse.

Less than 24 hours after his departure from the Dallas Cowboys, the second-year defensive end was claimed off waivers by the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team announced Thursday.

Hamilton was among six players cut by the Cowboys on Wednesday, along with defensive tackles Antwaun Woods and Walter Palmore, offensive lineman Adam Redmond, and cornerbacks Saivion Smith and Kemon Hall.

Smith was similarly claimed off waivers by the Seattle Seahawks.

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Background Info

Hamilton joined Dallas in 2020 as an undrafted free agent out of North Texas. He did not appear in a regular-season game but signed a reserve/futures contract with the team in January. He became expendable after the club added DE/OLB Tarell Basham in free agency and used the 12th overall draft pick on LB Micah Parsons, as well as a fourth-rounder on LB Jabril Cox.

Hamilton (6-3, 260) was a four-year contributor for the Mean Green, registering 67 solo tackles and 16 sacks over 43 career games. He totaled 7.5 sacks each of the past two seasons and put himself on the map at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he ran the forty-yard dash in 4.89 seconds, completed 27 press reps on the bench press, and logged a 30-inch vertical jump.

“Played as an odd-front end for much of 2019, but will likely be targeted as a 4-3 base end as a pro,” draft expert Lance Zierlein said of Hamilton. “Hamilton plays with good toughness and attitude, but his movement is heavy and extremely rigid. You won’t see him making a bunch of tackles, but he does have edge-setting strength and determination. He has steadily improved as a pass rusher, but athletic limitations could make it challenging to translate his college production into the pros.”

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No Heath Reunion

An old friend — Jeff Heath — is on the open market after the Las Vegas Raiders released him earlier this week. But the Cowboys are not currently interested in bringing the veteran safety back to Frisco.

“A Cowboys team source tells me, Dallas will at this time pass on a reunion with Heath, who turns 30 this month,” Mike Fisher of reported Thursday.

Fisher’s hearsay echoes Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay, who was noncommittal when asked about Heath during a recent radio interview.

“We know Jeff and Jeff’s done great things for us and he went to (Las Vegas) and had a great season,” McClay said on 105.3 The Fan following Heath’s release. “But we’re going to go through and look at what we have on the roster and we’re going to look at every opportunity to improve us if it makes sense.”

Heath totaled 346 combined tackles (267 solo), 24 pass deflections, eight interceptions, and five forced fumbles across 106 appearances (54 starts) for the Cowboys from 2013-19. He defected to Vegas last year, inking a two-year, $8 million contract.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL