The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly made a contract decision on young linebacker Leighton Vander Esch on Monday afternoon.
According to multiple reports, the Cowboys will not be picking up the fifth-year contract option for Vander Esch.
Vander Esch, 25, was the 19th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He had a fantastic rookie season, being named a second-team All-Pro. However, he has since struggled to stay on the field due to injuries.
The Cowboys drafted a linebacker in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night. Dallas selected former Penn State star Micah Parsons at No. 12 overall. Following the selection of Parsons, many speculated that Vander Esch’s contract option would not be picked up.
However, the Cowboys reportedly remain interested in working out a contract extension before Vander Esch hits free agency.
The Cowboys have informed agent Ron Slavin @deuce21 that they will not pick up Leighton Vander Esch’s fifth-year option but hope to sign the linebacker to a contract extension before the current deal expires in 2022.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) May 3, 2021
Vander Esch is under contract through the 2021 season. The Cowboys previously signed Jaylon Smith to a longterm contract extension and have since added Parsons into the linebackers unit.
Dallas’ defense struggled mightily in 2020. Getting more out of their linebackers in 2021 and beyond will be pivotal for the Cowboys.
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