Jayron Kearse Talks Quinn Return, Hints at Year 2 in Dallas – Cameron Burnett, Cowboys Wire

Jayron Kearse was a free agency sensation who signed for the Cowboys in 2021, and someone they will definitely want to bring back on a long-term contract. Aside from Kearse’s breakout year, the return of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn appears to be another big motivator for safety returning to Dallas.

When the Dallas Cowboys signed safety Jayron Kearse to a one-year, $1.1 million deal, it’s safe to say they had no idea he would become one of the best players in the game. all defense. That’s exactly what happened for the sixth-year veteran.

Kearse had a breakthrough season in his first year as a full-time starter and playing a hybrid linebacker-safety role, contributing with 101 total tackles, two interceptions and nine tackles for loss. Kearse can make a lot of money in free agency after an impressive “prove it” season, but his eyes are apparently set on a return to Dallas.

His return would be welcome and Kearse spoke to 105.3 FM The Fan about another returner in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

“Getting Quinn back was a huge win, and it was a badly needed win, just to do your best to keep this group together,” Kearse said Tuesday. “Because the progress we’ve made in Year 1, that can give us a lot of advantages in Year 2 with guys who are together, guys who have camaraderie with each other. It’s the No. 1 win so far this offseason.

DeMarcus Lawrence or Randy Gregory? The Cowboys must decide which pass rusher is their top priority – Jean-Jacques Taylor, Dallas Morning News

With cap uncertainty looming, should the Cowboys choose which pass thrower to prioritize? Is D-Law still the big dog in the locker room, or should Dallas bring Randy Gregory back on a new contract after a tumultuous, if sometimes brilliant 2021 campaign?

That’s because Gregory, who turns 30 in November, is an unrestricted free agent looking for his first big payday.

Lawrence, who turns 30 in April, is expected to earn $19 million and count $27 million over the cap.

No way, he’s got that cap number if he’s on the roster.

However, the Cowboys must first decide which player is their top priority.

Gregory, who missed two full seasons due to NFL suspensions for violating the league’s substance abuse program, has played just 50 games since being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft .

There is still more potential than production.

Progress report: Blake Jarwin struggled with injuries again – Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com

After receiving a second contract a few years ago, Blake Jarwin was supposed to be TE1 in Dallas. Injuries, along with the rise of Dalton Schutlz, undermined that expectation. Now, with Schultz as a free agent, the team must decide if Jarwin can count on him in 2022 or if they should invest considerable draft capital in a new starting tight end.

Good: Jarwin has shown once again that he’s a reliable target and a red-zone threat to quarterback Dak Prescott when healthy. The 27-year-old tight end has been working hard with the athletic training staff to come back from a torn ACL suffered in the 2020 season opener. He had 11 catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns in eight games regular-season games — both of the Cowboys’ wins — and both touchdowns came from inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

The bad: Jarwin hasn’t had much luck with injury since signing a three-year, $22 million extension two years ago. He’s missed 24 regular-season games over the past two seasons: 15 with the ACL tear in 2020 and nine last season with a hip injury sustained in the Cowboys’ Halloween night win at Minnesota. He returned for the regular season finale in Philadelphia and the playoff loss to San Francisco.

Best of 2021: Let’s go with Jarwin’s first touchdown of the season – a precise slanting route that split the Panthers’ secondary for an 18-yard score in the second quarter of a Cowboys 36-28 win. He also had a season-high 37 receiving yards in Dallas’ road win over the Chargers in Week 2.

Contractual consideration: Jarwin has a base salary of $4.5 million for 2022, according to Spotrac — part of the extension he signed in 2020. He signed through 2023.

Free agency 2022: Should Dallas re-sign LB Leighton Vander Esch? – Jess Haynie, Inside the Star

LVE’s selection in 2018 caused great consternation among Cowboys fans. Reports of a deteriorating neck injury led many to question the logic of taking a beaten linebacker in the first round. For a year, LVE has been brilliant. In the years that followed, it ranged from below average to slightly above. Now Dallas must decide if a team-friendly deal is worth it as they buy time to find and develop LVE’s eventual replacement.

The past four years haven’t been great for Vander Esch. After a stellar rookie season in which he made the Pro Bowl, injuries limited Leighton to just 19 games over the next two years. Even on the pitch, Vander Esch looked tentative and nothing like the budding star we enjoyed in 2018.

The 2019-20 struggles led the Cowboys to decline their 5th year option on Leighton’s contract. They could have secured his rights for 2022, albeit with a significant increase, but instead decided to let him prove himself in 2021 and then see where things stand.

Well, here we are now and Vander Esch is still a big question mark. 2021 was a mixed bag and didn’t definitively answer the question of his future with the team.

How Jaylon Smith continues to hurt the Cowboys in 2022 – Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Jaylon Smith may no longer be a Cowboy, but his contract continues to haunt a team already tied to the salary cap department. Some mistakes you can’t take back. Your only choice is to take it out and try not to repeat it elsewhere.

For all the good that Nolan’s dumping for Dan Quinn did for Dallas’ defense in 2021, Jaylon didn’t seem to catch the wave. His issues from the previous season were still there and soon led to Micah Parsons, Keanu Neal and others claiming the majority of the snaps.

Smith slipped away and fast, going from a former team captain to being released after Week 4. He only got significant playing time in Weeks 2 and 3 as Dallas suffered a huge eruption of COVID issues early in the season.

Whether it was physical or mental breakdowns or both, the Cowboys clearly saw Jaylon as a liability and a barrier to progress for other linebacking talents. It was bad enough that Dallas was willing to eat up a huge chunk of the guaranteed money left on Smith’s contract; whose damage will continue in 2022.

Jaylon’s old contract continues to sit at $6.8 million against the Cowboys’ 2022 salary cap. In an offseason that sees Dallas dealing with more than 20 free agents and needing to make big moves to get under ceiling and doing business, this money still allocated to Smith is no small problem.

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