Cowboys, LVE are parting ways after the 2023 season

Frisco, Texas – The 2024 season will see the Dallas Cowboys on the field with a notable absence at fullback, Leighton Vander Esch. The 28-year-old suffered a neck injury during the 2023 season, which ended his season.

He also finished his career with the Cowboys, as the team opted to release the former Pro Bowler in March with a failed physical.

Vander Esch leaves after 65 years in Dallas.

His current deal is set to hit the Cowboys' salary cap at a total of $4.4 million, and they will recoup $2.2 million of him toward cap savings while the remaining $2.2 million will be dead money.

A former first-round pick (19th overall) of the Cowboys in 2019, Vander Esch entered the league as a heralded linebacker out of Boise State, where he earned a nod as Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year (2017) and first-team honors All-Mountain West that same season.

He started with the Cowboys, finished his senior season with a Pro Bowl nod and was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2018.

Things became more difficult for him after that, largely due to injury. Having already struggled with neck issues at Boise State, similar issues are beginning to crop up at the NFL level. A nerve problem in his neck forced him to undergo surgery in 2019 in the hope of treating the problem, so he ended his second season by moving to injured reserve.

The next two seasons were more promising for Vander Esch – free of major injuries and making 30 combined starts – leading to a rejuvenated 2022 season with a one-year contract extension.

A two-year extension was agreed upon in March 2023, and Vander Esch, who was also the green point (play-caller) for former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, was off to another solid start before suffering his latest injury in early October against Saint-Germain. Francisco 49ers.

He will not return to that contest, or the remainder of the 2023 season, and now it has been decided that he will not return to a uniform. The player affectionately referred to as the “Wolf Hunter” leaves a void that the Cowboys won't easily fill, but it's a void they'll have no choice but to work to fill; They hope newly signed Eric Kendricks can help.

Vander Esch racked up 469 combined tackles in Dallas, along with 13 pass breakups and three interceptions, and continues to weigh his options regarding his future in the NFL.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *