Source: Cowboys Signing Kazee, Passing On Hooker

Kazee's visit on Wednesday here at The Star in Frisco, went well, especially the medical testing. That gives him the nod over Hooker
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FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys, long known for not prioritizing the safety position, just gobbled up three NFL free-agent newcomers at the position, a source telling CowboysSI.com that Damontae Kazee has been added to a collection already featuring Keanu Neal and Jayron Kearse.

Kazee's visit on Wednesday here at The Star in Frisco, went well, especially the medical testing. A source says that's the reason he is getting the nod (via a one-year contract) over Malik Hooker, who, contrary to reports, was never offered a deal by Dallas.

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The Cowboys have already locked up former Atlanta Falcons strong safety Neal to re-join his former coach Dan Quinn in Dallas, with the new Cowboys coordinator an important part of bringing the 6-1, 216-pounder to town - to play a sort of "hybrid'' position that will ask him to work as a linebacker and a safety.

Neal, 25, has pedigree as a first-round pick of the Falcons in 2016 out of Florida.

Dallas also signed Kearse to a one-year deal. He is mostly a special-teamer, but at 6-4, 216 and with background as a safety, he too could serve as a "hybrid'' behind Neal.

The search was then on for help at free safety. Kazee, 27, is also a Falcons ex, and a ballhawk. But despite his penchant for takeaways (he recorded seven interceptions in 2018), the former fifth-rounder is smallish (5-10, 184) and he's coming off an injury issue, as he tore his Achilles' tendon in Week 4 of the 2020 season.

The Cowboys came away satisfied with his rehab.

Hooker, 24, was a college superstar at Ohio State and was an instant hit for the Indianapolis Colts as a first-round pick in the NFL Draft. But injuries have slowed his career. Like Kazee, Hooker tore his Achilles, ending his 2020 season. But the rehab has seemingly been a slower process for him.

Therefore, the Cowboys, who still employ Donovan Wilson at the position but are likely turning the page from Xavier Woods, have made their choices - new choices with safety candidates that suggest that new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who had Kazee and Keanu in Atlanta, wants quality from guys who have played safety ... and wants some of his own guys to help out.

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