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Cowboys news: Dallas signs one free agent safety, still in the hunt for others

Plus, more news on America’s Team.

Detroit Lions v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Report: Cowboys signing Jayron Kearse - Charean Williams, PFT

It may not be the safety everyone wanted, but the Cowboys made a move, and more could follow.

The Cowboys are signing safety Jayron Kearse to a one-year contract, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Kearse visited the team Wednesday.

The Cowboys also are kicking the tires on former Colts safety Malik Hooker and former Falcons safety Damontae Kazee.

Kearse played the first four years of his career with the Vikings after he was selected in the seventh round in 2016. He appeared in 62 games for Minnesota with five starts.

Kearse was a rotational option at defensive back and a core special teams player for the Vikings.

Last season with the Lions, Kearse appeared in 11 games with seven starts. He had a career-high 59 tackles.

Was last year an aberration for Ezekiel Elliott? If not, 2022 may be Cowboys RB’s last season in Dallas - Jean-Jacques Taylor, Dallas Morning News

The Cowboys need their star running back to bounce back strong in 2021.

Some of you will say the six-year, $90 million contract Elliott signed before the 2019 season has made him lose his edge. Whatever. Understand, if Elliott plays to his pedigree and the standard he established his first four seasons — 96.5 yards per game with 40 touchdowns and 26 100-yard games — then there’s no doubt he’ll remain the epicenter of the Cowboys’ offense.

And with Prescott throwing the ball to Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, those are certainly attainable numbers. If he doesn’t, then 2022 will be his last season in a Cowboys’ uniform because consecutive sub-par years would lead us to rightfully believe he’s on the downside of his career as he gets ready to turn 28. Plus, it would only cost $2.6 million against the salary cap to release him before the 2023 season.

But if he plays well next season, we can assume last year was an aberration.

Horn Turns Heads At South Carolina Pro Day - David Helman,

Jaycee Horn had a strong pro day, pushing his draft stock up.

When talking cornerbacks in this year's draft, Horn usually hasn't been included in the same breath as Surtain and Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley. But if his Pro Day is any indication, that might be about to change. Horn dazzled scouts and evaluators in his own right. The son of former Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn, he showed off some impressive pedigree, measuring in at 6'0, 205 pounds with 33-inch arms. And if the measurables weren't good enough, Horn posted a 41.5-inch vertical leap and an 11-foot broad jump.

Pro Day times for the 40-yard dash aren't typically officialized, but Horn reportedly ran a 40 time of 4.39, according to multiple reports. Combine those results with some impressive college film, and it's not surprising that Horn figures to be drafted early in the 2021 NFL Draft next month. And given the Cowboys' needs at cornerback, it's not surprising that McClay and others are doing their due diligence at the position.

Cowboys' Early Report Card for Most Impactful Offseason Decisions - Alex Ballentine, Bleacher Report

Grading the Cowboys’ offseason so far.

Dak Prescott's New Contract. This was the most important thing the Cowboys had to get done. Dak Prescott might be a divisive quarterback among fans. There has been a lack of playoff success under Prescott, but that is an oversimplification of his role on the team. In 2019, Prescott's last healthy season, he was a top-five quarterback in yards, touchdowns and QBR. Teams don't just allow quarterbacks capable of that kind of production who are in their 20s hit the open market.

At first glance, the numbers on Prescott's contract seem astronomical. With a $40 million annual average value, it's the second-largest contract for a quarterback in the league. Only Patrick Mahomes' deal is bigger. But there's a few things to consider here. One, contracts in the NFL, and cap space in general, are malleable. The Chiefs have already restructured Mahomes' deal he signed last summer. Second, a massive amount of money now could be the new norm in just a year or two. The Cowboys happen to be making this deal when the salary cap is depressed from the financial impact of COVID-19. The Athletic's Lindsay Jones reported the cap could be back over $200 million in 2022 and up to $230 million by 2023.

Cowboys Busy at Safety; What Does it Mean for Donovan Wilson & Xavier Woods? - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

What does all the buzz surrounding the safety position mean for Donovan Wilson?

All of this effort to add talent at safety doesn’t appear to be a problem for Wilson. He should still be a key figure in the rotation even if he’s not a starter on the base defense. Depending on how much Keanu Neal gets moved around, Donovan may not play on the base defense but then come in at safety if Neal moves into a linebacker role on nickel and dime formations.

Dallas is probably only going to sign one, if any, of the three veteran safeties that they’re currently interviewing. They also have Jourdan Lewis back in the mix with potential to be converted to safety, plus the ongoing mystery of Reggie Robinson’s role in the secondary.

However it shakes out, Donovan Wilson should still be a significant factor in the Cowboys’ plans for next year. That’s far more than can be said for Xavier Woods, who may be looking for table scraps if he stays on the open market much longer.

Patrick Surtain or Caleb Farley? Recent events have tilted the Cowboys’ draft conversation in a clear direction - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

Discussing the Cowboys two main options at cornerback at pick #10.

Tuesday couldn’t have been more different for these two. Surtain was wildly impressive during Alabama’s pro day. The measurements (6-2, 208 pounds) were no surprise. The 39-inch vertical jump, the 10-foot, 11-inch broad jump, the 18 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press put him in the top percentile of these categories at the position.

The question? Every draft pick has at least one question. Most have more. With Surtain it’s speed. Well, he ran a 4.46 in the 40 to ease those concerns. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was there for the Cowboys to witness the performance.

Surtain didn’t just cement his stock. If possible, he improved it. He might have encouraged teams ahead of Dallas in the draft order to give him a second look and enticed teams behind them to consider jumping ahead of the Cowboys for the right deal.

ICYMI:Cowboys have informed free agent defensive end Aldon Smith that they will not re-sign him - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys

The defensive end will not be back in Dallas next season.

When the Dallas Cowboys signed defensive end Aldon Smith to a contract last offseason, it was a shock to everyone. Smith had been out of football for four years and had been suspended multiple times for problems off the field. So his return caught everyone by surprise.

Smith had conquered his addiction demons and actually came on strong to start the year, racking up four sacks in three games, including a dominating three-sack performance against the Seahawks. At that point of the season, it seemed like the Cowboys had gotten one of the steals of free agency. But Smith slowed down considerably the rest of the year. He only picked up one more sack, and besides some splash plays that included a fumble return for a touchdown, he wasn’t a major force. He was eventually supplanted in production in the rotation by Randy Gregory.

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