Cowboys Lose Key Starter to Rival: Report

Damontae Kazee

Getty Former Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee is bolting to the Steelers.

The Dallas Cowboys are losing another starter this offseason as Damontae Kazee has signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, per the defender’s agent, Ron Butler. The Cowboys not only lose another key player this offseason, but Kazee is bolting to a historic rival.

Kazee was one of several former Atlanta Falcons players who followed defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to Dallas last offseason. The veteran safety appeared in all 17 games for the Cowboys, including 15 starts. Kazee posted 52 tackles, four pass deflections and two forced fumbles. The veteran’s days appeared to be numbered in Dallas as Kazee was previously linked to the Seahawks.

“Free agent safety Damontae Kazee is scheduled to visit the Seattle Seahawks today, per source,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted on April 19. “Seattle looking at pre-draft defensive back options. Kazee is a five-year veteran who started for Cowboys last year and has 12 interceptions.”

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The Cowboys Gave Safety Markquese Bell One of the Most Lucrative Deals of Any Undrafted Players

The Cowboys did not address safety in the draft, but did sign Florida A&M’s Markquese Bell to one of the most lucrative deals of any undrafted free agent. The former Rattlers safety earned a $200,000 guaranteed salary from Dallas along with a $15,000 signing bonus.

“Cowboys had strong interest in S Markquese Bell from Florida A&M amid a competitive market Saturday, and that was reflected in the contract to which he agreed,” Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken detailed on Twitter on May 2. “Undrafted rookie joined Dallas with a $200,000 guarantee on his salary, plus a $15K signing bonus, source said.”

Stephen Jones: ‘I Will Say This, Free Agency’s Not Over’

Dallas focused slightly more on defense in the draft snagging five defenders compared to four offensive players. The Cowboys continue to insist they are not done in free agency as additional, more affordable waves happen in the weeks to come. Heading into the draft, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones emphasized that the team could still address positions of need in free agency with some of the remaining veterans.

“I will say this, free agency’s not over,” Jones explained during the team’s April 26 pre-draft press conference. “There’s different waves of it and there’s still going to be opportunities to improve different areas of our team other than the draft or college free agency. I think that still can happen and probably will happen.

“I wouldn’t say we have any musts left in terms of having to take a particular position. At some point, obviously, you’d like to look up nine picks later and hope that you really helped yourself across the board in terms of not only improving yourself for frontline players but also depth and things of that nature. So, I don’t think we have any musts going into the draft.”

According to Over the Cap, Dallas still has $15.3 million in remaining cap space but some of this will be utilized to sign the recent draft picks. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys make any other major additions as the team begins to look towards training camp in the coming months.