Training camp for all 32 teams begins at the end of this month. Like every season, this is the time where guys who haven’t secured their spot on the roster are looked at as candidates to get the cut and have to look for employment elsewhere.
It’s the tough reality of the NFL and not a position any player wants to be in. However, with younger guys stepping up all the time to showcase their talent, and doing so at cheaper salaries, guys that are a little longer in the tooth can find themselves the victim of the numbers game.
ESPN recently released it’s candidates for who might be on the roster bubble for each team ahead of training camp, and veteran Safety Jayron Kearse was the choice for the Cowboys.
Todd Archer explains:
“The Cowboys do not have a lot of veterans in danger for the traditional reasons, like money, age or draft resources at that spot. So it comes down to Kearse or Darian Thompson, though both could make the final roster. Thompson started seven games last year and is a core special teamer. Kearse, who is guaranteed just $137,500 on the one-year deal he signed, can do the same. It could come down to the development of sixth-round pick Isreal Mukuamu. If he shows he can make the transition from college corner to safety, then Kearse and Thompson will be in a battle. Thompson’s time with the current staff gives him the slightest edge.”
The Kearse signing for the Cowboys wasn’t about him being a solution at safety opposite Donovan Wilson after his excellent 2020 campaign. Instead, it was about adding depth at both safety spots seeing as he played both during his days with the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. He’s only logged 12 starts in his career (seven came in 2020) but has recorded nearly 1,100 snaps on defense and special teams. Also, he’s been very durable appearing in 73 out of a possible 80 games.
Thompson, who has been with the Cowboys since 2018, certainly has the leg up on Kearse not just with his time with the organization but with how much he’s seen the field. He’s logged 904 snaps on defense which includes 11 starts, just one shy of Kearse’s career total. Also, he’s been on the field for 537 special teams plays. Although both entered the NFL in 2016, Thompson has nearly 1,000 more defensive snaps and 16 more starts for his career than Kearse which could lean the trust of the organization in his favor if there’s a decision to make between the two.
This will certainly be a camp battle to keep an eye on for depth purposes at the safety position.