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Cowboys Sign Texans D-Line Starter, Lose Tight End

Watkins, a 2017 fourth-round pick out of Clemson, played four seasons with the Houston Texans and was a starter in 2020

FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys did not participate in tier-one NFL free agency shopping, but as first noted by DallasCowboys.com, they have on Thursday morning added depth to their defensive line with the addition of Carlos Watkins.

Watkins, a 2017 fourth-round pick out of Clemson, played four seasons with the Houston Texans before becoming an unrestricted free agent after finishing out his rookie contract with the Texans. The 6-3, 297-pound defensive lineman was a starter with Houston in 2020, registering 11 first-team appearances. He recorded two of his career four sacks last season while playing about half of the snaps for the Texans.

Dallas is also losing backup tight end Blake Bell, as he is reportedly signing a one-year deal to return to the Chiefs, the team he helped to win Super Bowl LIV.

Watkins has played in 42 games, and played both inside and outside in the Texans' 3-4 defense. Dallas is switching back to a 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and Watson figures as interior help there, along with Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore, who are near the top of the depth chart, and just-tendered restricted free agent defensive tackle Antwaun Woods.

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The Cowboys' other moves in free agency have largely been about "signing our own,'' most notably so far with special-teams ace C.J. Goodwin and slot cornerback Jourdan Lewis. Obviously, Dallas made its biggest splash with the retention of franchise tagged QB Dak Prescott, who is signed up with a new four-year, $160 million contract.

The Cowboys will likely continue to attempt to bolster their defense and acknowledge that they especially have issues in the secondary, where Chidobe Awuzie has signed with the Bengals and where Xavier Woods is a free agent.

READ MORE: NFL Free Agency Tracker: Cowboys Moves