The Dallas Cowboys have struggled to find a ball-hawking free safety for years now. They seemed to have found that guy in Xavier Woods, which kept them from trading for or signing Earl Thomas. Now Woods is in Minnesota after his contract expired, and the Cowboys have a new free safety in former Atlanta Falcons’ Safety Damontae Kazee.
Kazee came to the Cowboys after an injury-shortened 2020 that limited him to just four games and prevented him from playing 16 games for the first time in his career. Kazee is seen as a player who can play free safety in Dan Quinn’s cover-3 scheme, which requires the safety to cover the deep middle third of the field.
In his career, the four-year veteran has 10 interceptions and five forced fumbles. In 2018, Kazee had seven interceptions and then followed that up with three more in 2019.
There’s little doubt that Kazee can play. The only shred of doubt that clouded the signing was how healthy he was. We finally have our answer.
As the Dallas Cowboys opened up the OTA portion of their offseason this week, Kazee was ready to go, practicing with the defense and participating in drills.
Jon Machota on Twitter: “New Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee at OTAs today(Video: @dallascowboys) pic.twitter.com/1rS7DU6C3P / Twitter”
New Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee at OTAs today(Video: @dallascowboys) pic.twitter.com/1rS7DU6C3P
After practice, Kazee shared why he chose Dallas over “a couple teams out there trying to get me.” He fully expects the Dallas Cowboys to be contenders in the NFC and make a run for the Super Bowl.
Jori Epstein on Twitter: “Cowboys S Damontae Kazee: “There was a couple teams out there trying to get me, but I wanted to come to a team that I know we’re going to fight and get to the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl. I believe in the guys, and guys believe in me up here.” / Twitter”
Cowboys S Damontae Kazee: “There was a couple teams out there trying to get me, but I wanted to come to a team that I know we’re going to fight and get to the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl. I believe in the guys, and guys believe in me up here.”
So much of the Cowboys’ ability to win the NFC East and make a deep run in the NFC playoffs will depend on how effective Damontae Kazee is at safety. We know the offense is going to be one of the best in the NFL in 2021, but the defense is what’s giving everyone pause.
If Kazee can be the guy the Dallas Cowboys have been searching for at free safety, someone who creates turnovers and provides support for the young corners Trevon Diggs and Kelvin Joseph on the boundary, then the Cowboys will have a good shot to improve upon the terrible defensive performance they had in 2020.
Damontae Kazee’s presence at practice and in drills is a huge landmark for a team that needs some good luck on the injury front in 2021 if they’re going to boldly go somewhere they haven’t gone in 25 years.