Dallas Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch will not have his fifth-year option picked up but the team is reportedly hoping for a contract extension prior to its expiration in 2022, per Todd Archer. (Todd Archer on Twitter)
The Cowboys drafted Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons with their first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, indicating they would like to upgrade the position alongside Pro-Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith. Vander Esch finished the 2020 season with 60 tackles but failed to provide elite coverage in passing scenarios, allowing an 86 CMP% and missing 16.7% of attempted tackles in 10 games. His injury history is definitely a factor in the Cowboys' decision but he will return to Dallas for his fourth year in 2021 and remains a hopeful candidate to receive a future contract extension. With the added pressure, it will be interesting to see how Vander Esch performs on a completely revamped Dallas defense.