Agent: Cowboys declining LB Leighton Vander Esch’s option

The Dallas Cowboys will not exercise linebacker Leighton Vander Esch’s fifth-year option for 2022, his agent told ESPN on Monday.

Vander Esch, 25, was the 19th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

Instead of earning a fully guaranteed $9.1 million in 2022, he will become a free agent after the 2021 season.

Agent Ron Slavin said the Cowboys were concerned about Vander Esch’s injury history, as he missed seven games with a neck injury in 2019 and six games with a broken collarbone in 2020.

Vander Esch has 272 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 35 career games (30 starts).

The Cowboys selected Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons in the first round and added LSU linebacker Jabril Cox in the fourth round of last week’s draft.

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