Leighton Vander Esch
6'4'' / 256 lbs
Vander Esch recorded six solo tackles in the Cowboys' 40-0 win over the Giants on Sunday night.
In what was a lopsided contest, Vander Esch was still able to get six stops while playing 47 total defensive snaps. The 27-year-old is coming off of a 2022 campaign where he notched 90 tackles, a figure that he'll look to challenge in 2023.
Weekly Stats 2022Stats not available
Performance Splits 2020 to 2022Stats not available
Career StatsStats not available
Vander Esch is set to re-sign a two-year deal with $11 million with the Cowboys, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Vander Esch missed three games last year and 17 games over the past four seasons, but he's been a strong run defender for the Cowboys. Although he's never come close to matching the 140 tackles he had as a rookie, the 90 stops he posted in 2022 represented the second-best season of his career. Going into his age-27 season, he'll remain an anchor for the team at middle linebacker.
Vander Esch recorded 90 tackles (54 solo), including one sack, with one pass defended and one forced fumble over 14 regular-season games in 2022.
The 26-year-old linebacker once again dealt with some neck issues, missing the final three games of the regular season due to a pinched nerve, but he returned for the playoffs and racked up 20 tackles across the Cowboys' two postseason contests. The late absences cost Vander Esch a chance to hit triple-digit tackles for the second time in his career, but it still was a good season overall. After playing 2022 under a one-year, $2 million prove-it deal, Vander Esch may have done enough to earn a bigger payday this offseason, whether from Dallas or another team.
Vander Esch (neck) was a full participant during the Cowboys' practice Thursday, Jon Machota of The Athletic reports.
Vander Esch missed the final three games of the regular season with a pinched nerve in his neck suffered Week 15 against Jacksonville. Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that the linebacker was one of three starters expected to return in time for Monday's wild-card bout against Tampa Bay, and he appears to be right on schedule heading into this game. Vander Esch recorded 90 tackles across 14 games during the regular season, marking his most significant production since his 140-tackle rookie campaign in 2018. He'll now reprise a prominent role alongside linebackers Micah Parsons and Anthony Barr.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that he's "very optimistic" about Vander Esch's (neck) status heading into the wild-card round of the playoffs, Patrik Walker of the team's official site reports.
Vander Esch sustained a pinched nerve in his neck during the Week 15 loss to Jacksonville, leaving him sidelined for the final three games of the regular season. The 26-year-old now appears to be one of three Cowboys starters that are nearing a return from injury, as McCarthy said Vander Esch, center Tyler Biadasz (ankle) and defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins (pectoral) all "looked very positive" Monday. He also added that the team would see where they're at during Wednesday's practice, which should provide additional clarity on their status heading into the wild-card matchup against Tampa Bay on Monday, Jan. 16.
Vander Esch (neck) has been ruled out for Sunday's matchup against the Commanders.
Vander Esch will miss a third straight game due to a neck injury he suffered during the team's Week 15 loss to Jacksonville. Damone Clark figures to remain a prominent part of Dallas' defense until Vander Esch is able to return.