2. Jayron Kearse, Safety
Dan Quinn should always be thanked for reminding Jerry and Stephen Jones just how important safeties are. Under Rod Marinelli and Mike Nolan, the Cowboys constantly trotted out late-round picks, undrafted free agents, and bargain-bin veterans. When Quinn took over in 2021, he signed three players capable of starting.
Not only did they sign Damontae Kazee, who was with Quinn in Atlanta, but they also added Malik Hooker — a former first-round pick who was coming off an Achilles injury. They allowed him to get healthy and wound up with a starter capable of patrolling the field deep.
A third safety was signed that year as well, although his addition went under the radar. Jayron Kearse, a former seventh-round pick from Clemson, had just recorded 59 tackles the prior year for the Detroit Lions. Quinn saw the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Kearse as the perfect box safety and he quickly won the fans over.
Kearse had 101 tackles and two picks in his first season in Dallas and after three years boasts 250 tackles, 4.5 sacks, five interceptions, and 19 pass defenses. Now set for free agency, there's a chance the 30-year-old won't be retained. He could, however, follow Quinn who will be in need of help in his secondary. It wouldn't be easy to see Kearse, who became an emotional leader for the Cowboys, playing in D.C. but the move would make sense.