3. Jayron Kearse, S
For much of Jason Garrett's tenure as the head coach in Dallas, the team seemed allergic to safeties. They wouldn't go after anyone of note in free agency and were constantly bargain-shopping in the NFL Draft. Occasionally they would hit on someone such as Xavier Woods but on the whole, the position was a constant source of frustration.
Then when Mike McCarthy hired Dan Quinn as the defensive coordinator that changed. In his first offseason, the Cowboys added Damontae Kazee, Jayron Kearse, and eventually Malik Hooker to the secondary via free agency.
Unsurprisingly, adding three starting-caliber players to a position of weakness led to the defense being vastly improved. What was surprising, however, was which of the three additions stood out as the best player.
Despite being the least noteworthy signing, Kearse wound up becoming a leader in the secondary. In his first season with the Cowboys, he had 101 tackles, 10 pass defenses, and two interceptions. He was rewarded with a two-year extension after the season and had another strong campaign in 2022 including a dominant performance in the Wild Card Round against Tampa Bay.
Unfortunately, this season hasn't gone as planned for the 6-foot-4, 215-pound safety. Kearse hasn't been making many impact plays and while he's still strong in run support, his coverage has been an issue. With that being the case, as well as the fact that he will turn 30 in February, Kearse isn't likely to return for a fourth season in Big D.