Dallas Cowboys free agent who will be gone No. 2: Leighton Vander Esch, LB
There was a time when the Dallas Cowboys looked to have the best linebackers in the NFL. Sure, they might have the best right now in Micah Parsons who has 12 sacks as a rookie, but the rest of the unit has been average, at best.
That’s a stark contrast from 2018 when Jaylon Smith was playing out of his mind and rookie first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch was making one highlight-reel play after another. As a rookie, LVE had 140 tackles, two interceptions, and seven pass defenses. Since then, he’s been hardly making a sound.
He started to deal with injuries and missed seven games in 2019 and six in 2020. That started to frustrate fans who were concerned when he was drafted due to a lingering neck issue in college.
This year, he’s been healthier but again, he hasn’t made an impact. He has just 53 tackles and doesn’t make any impact plays. Dallas already declined the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, meaning they might not have plans for him in the future.
It’s a sad ending for a player who was once so promising. But that’s also the harsh reality in the NFL.