Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed on Monday afternoon that the team is not picking up the 2022 option on linebacker Leighton Vander Esch‘s contract, but he doesn’t see 2021 as the end of the line for Vander Esch in Dallas.
Exercising the option would have guaranteed Vander Esch a salary of $9.145 million and Jones said on 105.3 The Fan that the team’s position under the salary cap drove the decision not to pick it up. He added that the team is interested in signing Vander Esch to a different contract.
“Our intention is to keep Leighton around for the next four, five years,” Jones said, via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.
Vander Esch has missed 13 games over the last two seasons with a neck injury and staying on the field for all of next season would likely help his hand in negotiations with the Cowboys or any other team that might be interested in his services.