Talk about a breakthrough player. Dallas acquired four new safeties this past off-season, with Jayron Kearse getting the least attention. It’s safe to say he has heavily outperformed every other safety on the team this season.
He spent his first five seasons sitting on the bench in a backup role with the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, who drafted him in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Cowboys offered him the opportunity to take over the starting role, and he stole everyone’s heart.
He leads the team in tackles with 94 and has more interceptions, tackles for a loss of yards, and quarterback hits this season than his previous seasons combined. Soon, you can add passes defended to that list.
Kearse’s 6’4″ frame has been making plays all over the field. It’s the first time in years the Cowboys have a safety with such an impact on the defense. The only downside of Kearse having such a significant breakout is that his contract expires this off-season. He is currently playing on a one-year deal paying him $1.3 million.
Thankfully, safeties are not known for getting a big payday (unless your name is Jamal Adams). That means fitting a significant raise to keep Kearse may not be all that difficult to do.
Rayshawn Jenkins fetched a deal paying him $8.75 million with the Jacksonville Jaguars after decent production with the Los Angeles Chargers. There’s no reason Kearse can’t get a contract around that number and term. That is quite the raise from his current contract, but you can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. The big-framed safety has been a force to be reckoned with this season in his first real opportunity to be a starter.
History tells me that Dallas will neglect the late bloomer, as they usually ignore the safety position. Let’s be honest, we were all surprised at the numerous moves made to improve the position this off-season.
Hopefully, the Jones family will continue investing in the underrated position by re-signing Kearse. That may be the single-player to watch this off-season in the sense that it’s unclear if he will return. What is known is that a possible departure has nothing to do with his performance.