Dallas Cowboys: 3 Dallas veterans who could be surprise summer cuts

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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dallas cowboys
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The offseason is always full of surprises. From coaching changes, to free agent signings, to draft picks, to roster cuts, even the most plugged-in Dallas Cowboys fans and media types have a tough time knowing exactly what’s going on inside The Star in Frisco.

With the release of Antwaun Woods, Saivion Smith, Adam Redmond, Walter Palmore, and Ladarius Hamilton, we’ve already seen the Dallas Cowboys execute their first wave of post-draft roster cuts. But if history is any indication, the Cowboys are far from done cutting veteran players. And at some point this summer, further cuts will be made.

Today we discuss three veteran Dallas Cowboys who could be surprise cuts this summer.

Currently at 90, it’s clear the Dallas Cowboys need to trim a lot of fat between now and the September 4th deadline to 53. And those aren’t all going to be undrafted free agents and camp bodies. Some are going to be NFL veterans and maybe even fan favorites.

Those are the players we’re interested in discussing today.

Leighton Vander Esch, LB

Leighton Vander Esch went from being a top-5 NFL linebacker to a almost-bust in just two short years. The 2018 first round pick of the Cowboys burst onto the scene as a rookie, earning Pro Bowl honors, and rating as Pro Football Focus’ no. 5 linebacker in the league.

But since that explosive start to his career, his resume has been littered with injuries and poor play. He’s missed 13 games the past two seasons and even when he has been healthy enough to play, it’s been poor. He’s struggled both against the run and in coverage, and his film has graded outside of the top-50 both seasons.

The Dallas Cowboys invested two of their draft picks in the linebacker position this year and made their highest profile free agent signing a linebacker. It’s numbers crunch that led to them decline LVE’s fifth year option for 2022,making 2021 his last year under contract.

At a cost of just $3,769,750 against the cap in 2021, LVE isn’t going to break the bank by remaining on the roster. But as Dan Ruppert recently wrote about, there appears to be more linebackers than there are roles – even if the Cowboys employ a rotation that asks linebackers to specialize.

If LVE is going to be a progress stopper to any of Dallas’ long-term options at LB, or if his injury situation rears its ugly head again, Dallas may be inclined to cut bait a season early. Cutting him won’t offer cap savings so I’d call it a longshot, but it can’t be ruled out given the new coaching staff and glut of talent on the roster. Training camp will be key for LVE.