Cowboys Rumors: DAL May Decline Vander Esch Contract Option After Parsons Pick

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIApril 30, 2021

Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) looks on before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
Terrance Williams/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys' decision to draft linebacker Micah Parsons with the No. 12 overall pick could have implications for another player on the roster, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

Rapoport reported that the team is likely to decline Leighton Vander Esch's fifth-year option following the selection. 

Vander Esch was the team's No. 19 pick out of Boise State in 2018.  

Vander Esch appeared in all 16 games in a Pro Bowl campaign as a rookie, making 140 tackles with two interceptions. But his production dwindled after that, and after appearing in a career-low nine games in 2019, he made 10 appearances in 2020 due to injuries in both seasons. 

He had a career-low 60 tackles for a Dallas defense that ranked 10th-worst in the league, allowing 386.4 yards per game.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said in an appearance on 105.3 The Fan that the team would make a decision on Vander Esch's option following the draft (h/t Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk). 

The Cowboys drafted Vander Esch in the first round thinking he could benefit the linebacker group for the foreseeable future, and now they've added Parsons to keep it moving. The 6'3 1/8", 246-pounder did not play in 2020, but posted 191 total tackles and 18.0 sacks with five pass breakups through 26 games at Penn State.