Cowboys special-teams ace Watkins signs $1.2M tender offer

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys safety Patrick Watkins signed his restricted free-agent contract Thursday, bringing back one of the club's top special-teams players.

Any team that wanted Watkins only would have needed to give up a fifth-round draft pick, but he didn't find any takers. So he came back for nearly $1.2 million, his original-round tender price.

Watkins has played in 49 games over the last four seasons and has 56 tackles on special teams. He played 10 games last season, starting one, before spraining a knee ligament in December. He came to the Cowboys as a fifth-round pick out of Florida State in 2006.

Wide receivers Miles Austin and Sam Hurd, safety Gerald Sensabaugh and offensive lineman Duke Preston are Dallas' restricted free agents who have yet to sign.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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