Dallas Cowboys hoping ball-hawking safety can help upgrade historically bad defense


The Dallas Cowboys added their sixth defensive player in free agency when free safety Damontae Kazee came to terms on a one-year deal Thursday night.

Kazee is the second former Atlanta Falcons player to reunite with former head coach Dan Quinn with the Cowboys. Quinn, who coached Atlanta for the last six seasons, is the team’s new defensive coordinator.

The Cowboys added former Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal last Saturday. He will play linebacker in Dallas.

Kazee is familiar with Quinn’s scheme and will compete at free safety.

Kazee was one of three safeties who visited the Cowboys on Wednesday.

The team quickly came terms with strong safety Jayron Kearse on a one-year deal.

The Cowboys hoped to add either Kazee or former Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker.

Both were coming off Achilles tears that sidelined them in 2020 and the Cowboys brought them in to get an update on their recoveries.

After his visit, Kazee visited the Detroit Lions on Thursday before coming to terms with the Cowboys.

He will not only be reunited with Quinn but also secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr., who was his position coach in Atlanta last season.

Per source, Kazee is getting a one-year, prove-it deal with the Cowboys, who are hoping he can bring his ball-hawking skills to Dallas.

Kazee, a fifth-round pick of the Falcons in 2017, had seven interceptions in 2018 and three 2019. He tied for NFL lead with 10 interceptions during those two seasons.

The Cowboys recorded just 11 interceptions as a team during that same time span and Cowboys safeties picked off just eight passes the past three seasons combined.

The team hasn’t had a safety record seven interceptions in a season since Michael Downs in 1984.

The Cowboys have made a point during free agency to add bodies and increase the competition on a defense that gave up more points than any unit in franchise history in 2020 and allowed the second most yards.

In addition to Kazee, Neal and Kearse, the Cowboys signed three defensive linemen in Brent Urban, Carlos Watkins and Tarell Basham.



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