Jayron Kearse says “sky’s the limit” as new leader of Cowboys’ safety corps – Lauren Barash, The Landry Hat
From roster bubble in 2021 to lead dog in the safety room.
Last year at this time, Dallas Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse was just trying to earn a starting spot on the roster after signing a one-year prove-it deal with the team. After four years in Minnesota and one in Detroit where he never eclipsed more than seven starts in a single season, he had to also compete with Damontae Kazee and Malik Hooker for a safety spot on the Cowboys.
Now, a year later, he heads into OTAs as the leader of the safety corps. Kearse is a perfect example of what every player aims to do when they sign a prove-it deal. He started in fifteen games for Dallas in 2021 collecting 100 tackles, his first sack, his first multi-interception season, and his first fumble recovery. He also took over playcalling duties midway through the season while being on the turf for the third-most amount of snaps of any defender on the roster.
The 28-year-old excelled with Dan Quinn’s guidance, and like teammate Micah Parsons, was able to use his versatility to help the Cowboys. Kearse contributed on special teams, as a safety, and even was sent as a linebacker to take out tight ends. His impressive and unique production led him to sign a two-year extension with the Cowboys this offseason.
With a contract in hand and big goals ahead, Kearse is ready to lead the safety depth chart. Amidst names like Malik Hooker, Donovan Wilson, Israel Mukuamu, and Tyler Coyle, Kearse is the oldest at just 28 years old. But he doesn’t seem to mind being the guy people look up to. At least that’s not how he made it seem when he spoke to the press during OTAs.
Isn’t Micah Parsons elite already? Coach McCarthy isn’t ready to anoint him just yet.
McCarthy places NFL players into four categories, ranging from good players, to good players who have great moments, to individuals who consistently perform at an extremely high level, to, finally, the elite players.
“And that’s what we’re all hoping that these guys develop into because elite players make players better around them,” McCarthy said. “Obviously Micah had a lot of great moments last year, but our desire — and it needs to be his desire — is for him to be an elite player, not just a great player. ...
“How they work, how they compete in practice, how they compete in the weight room, how they compete at garbage can basketball in the locker room. I don’t know. That’s all part of culture growth and establishing that, and that’s something that he has an opportunity to really make a huge impact in our football team.”
Even though he is entering only his second season, Parsons is viewed as a leader. He is arguably the Cowboys’ best defensive player. A year ago, he was more measured on when to speak his mind.
“I’m able to be a little more [vocal] with the guys, explaining what I like to do, what I don’t like to do, what helps me if you do this that way,” Parsons said. “And just having that open communication this offseason, just been beneficial for the guys. I think if you look at the way we’re practicing and we’re looking at the film, we look so much better than [when] we were starting last year.”
Cowboys’ franchise valuation set to get big boost from Broncos sale – K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire/USA Today Sports
The new value for the Cowboys could be close to $10 billion and Jerry Jones still would never sell.
The Dallas Cowboys have reigned supreme as not just the most valuable NFL franchise, but sports franchise in the world. For several years they’ve sat atop the Forbes list, recently checking in last August with a projected value of $6.5 billion. That tops the New York sports franchises, the Yankees and Knicks, along with the Barcelona football club, known in America as soccer.
Owner Jerry Jones invested less than $150 million to purchase the team back in 1989 and after returning the luster to the organization’s trophy case in the early 1990s with three wins in four years, has cashed in exponentially. With word of the Broncos sale nearing completion, all NFL franchise values will be boosted by being able to put an actual dollar amount on a team’s true value for the first time since 2018 when the Carolina Panthers were sold for $2.275 billion. The Broncos look to be worth $4.65 billion.
And if the Broncos are worth $4.65 billion, the Cowboys value is going to skyrocket as well. Last year, the Broncos were valued at $3.75 billion on Forbes’ list. Using the percentage increase over that amount, the Cowboys will be worth at least $8 billion come the next assessment in a few months.
Dallas must feel confident in what they have already on the roster.
Right now Dallas is projected to be well over the 2023 salary cap. This is largely due to Dak Prescott’s contract but also big numbers from DeMarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, Ezekiel Elliott, and Michael Gallup.
Surely, moves are coming involving some of these players which will improve the situation. Prescott and Martin will likely get restructured again while Dallas gives Smith and Elliott long looks as potential cap casualties.
This projected overage is even after the Cowboys get roughly $14 million in dead money off the books. Currently carrying $22 million in dead money thanks to Cooper, Collins, Jaylon Smith, and a few other former Dallas players, that number drops to just around $8 million next year with the remainder of Collins’ deal.
So why are we talking about 2023? A major factor in annual cap management now is the rollover of unused space from the previous season. Dallas’ seemingly miserly approach now may be about preserving options and flexibility for next year.
Rolling over as much of their current space to 2023 as they can helps the Cowboys breathe better in the next offseason. Perhaps it even allows them to keep a player like Ezekiel Elliott or Tyron Smith if they have bounce-back seasons in 2022, rather than being forced to party ways with one or both in the name of the cap.
Jalen Tolbert Injury Update: Rookie Makes Move in Dallas Cowboys OTAs. “He’s a smart guy,’’ says quarterback Dak Prescott of Jalen Tolbert. “He wants to grow. He’s always talking to me about film and what I saw.’’ – Mike Fisher, SI.com
Tolbert is already becoming a favorite among the veterans on the Cowboys roster.
What the Cowboys had seen through the first two OTA sessions was Tolbert, the third-round pick out of South Alabama, staying on the sideline while working with trainers. A bit of progress was made a week ago when he fielded a handful of punts.
But otherwise? This week marks real progress in his availability - the first step to helping Prescott and a receivers room led by CeeDee Lamb but short on healthy and experienced talent otherwise.
“He’s awesome,” said Kellen Moore, the Cowboys offensive coordinator, when asked to provide a scouting report on Tolbert. “I think he works his tail off. I think you can tell how prepared he is and how detailed he wants to be.
“I think he’s going to be a really good addition for us.”
Tolbert, who only really picked up football during high school, was so highly thought of by Moore and the Cowboys that they nearly made him their second-round pick. So the team believes it got great value with its selection, which allowed the defense to get a boost with the second-round selection of Ole Miss defensive end Sam Williams.
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