One of their own has been brought back by the Dallas Cowboys. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the Cowboys have signed a new contract for linebacker Leighton Van Esch. He was able to explore the open market after the NFL opened free agency this week.
Rapoport tweeted : “Source: The Cowboys have reached an agreement on a 1-year contract with LB Leighton Vander Esch,” Rapoport said . Their former first round pick is back.
Source: The #Cowboys have agreed to terms on a 1-year deal with LB Leighton Vander Esch. Their former first round pick is back.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2022
Vander Esch was a college football player at Boise State. He accumulated 188 tackles over his three-year college career. Vander Esch was a part of 14 games in his last year of 2017, where he had 141 tackles and 8.5 tackles loss. He also recorded four sacks and two interceptions. Vander Esch also defended five passes. Vander Esch was selected by the Cowboys in the first round as the 19th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
In 2018, Vander Esch was a rookie. He had 140 tackles in 2018, including two tackles for loss, one touchdown, two interceptions, and one quarterback hit. There were also seven passes defended. He was a second-team All-Pro as well as a Pro Bowler in his rookie year. Vander Esch was injured in the next two seasons, playing in 19 games between 2019 and 2020.
He had 72 tackles in 2019, with one tackle for loss, and one quarterback hit. Vander Esch recorded 60 tackles in 2020 with one tackle for loss, and one quarterback hit. Vander Esch was a Cowboys regular-season player in all 17 games. He had 77 tackles, four tackles loss, one quarterback hit and an interception. Vander Esch also recorded 13 tackles in Cowboys playoff games this year.
The Cowboys lost their star defensive end/outside defender Randy Gregory, who signed with the Denver Broncos. Dallas also restructured DeMarcus Lawrence, defensive end, and signed Dorance Armstrong to a 2-year contract.
The Cowboys saw the importance of bringing back Vander Esch, as they are keen to build on last year’s defensive improvements. Micah Parsons, a young phenom, can play both linebacker and on the defensive side. Parsons can still contribute to the defense by bringing back Vander Esch. Jabril Coop is also available for the Cowboys at linebacker.
Rapoport stated that Micah Parson will play a significant amount of snaps at the edge, rushing passers. Bringing Leighton VanderEsch back to the middle makes sense.