NFL Roster Cuts: Cowboys to release LB Leighton Vander Esch an WR Michael Gallup

Following a tumultuous 2023 season, the Dallas Cowboys are eager to turn over a new leaf, placing their full trust in quarterback Dak Prescott to lead the team forward. Alongside addressing contract concerns for veteran players, the Cowboys are also focused on bolstering their roster with only players who can bring versatility and strength to the upcoming season.

As part of their roster adjustments, the Cowboys announced on Friday their decision to bid farewell to one veteran linebacker and one wide receiver.

Cowboys expected to waive Leighton Vander

The Cowboys have made a significant roster move by cutting ties with linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. This decision comes as no surprise, especially considering Vander Esch’s extended absence due to a neck injury during the 2023 season.

With Vander Esch’s departure, the Cowboys freed up approximately $2 million in salary cap space. This move was expected, given Vander Esch’s injury history and the uncertainty surrounding his long-term health.

Vander Esch’s career with the Cowboys began with promise, earning a Pro Bowl selection in his rookie season of 2018, per KTSM. He set the Cowboys rookie record with 140 total tackles in 2018. Nevertheless, concerns about his neck persisted, and injuries have limited his playing time and productivity.

Despite his efforts to overcome these challenges, Vander Esch’s inability to stay healthy ultimately failed. At just 28 years old, retirement speculation loomed over Vander Esch as he faced the possibility of a career-ending injury. In the most recent injury incident, he suffered a neck injury during Week 5 against San Francisco last season after being shoved from behind, causing his neck to collide with teammate Micah Parsons’ right leg.

The Cowboys have officially designated Vander Esch’s departure as a “failed physical,” indicating the severity of his injury. Recent reports suggested that the team was giving Vander Esch space to decide his future in football.

Cowboys set to release Michael Gallup

The Dallas Cowboys have decided to part ways with wide receiver Michael Gallup. This decision comes after the team allowed Gallup to explore trade opportunities, leaving fans with mixed feelings about the decision. With Gallup’s departure, the Cowboys are set to save a substantial $9.5 million in salary cap space for the upcoming season.

Gallup amassed impressive stats throughout his career with the Cowboys, including 3,744 receiving yards and 21 touchdown catches. His standout performance came in 2019, when he recorded a career-high 1,107 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Meanwhile, Gallup faced adversity in 2021 when he suffered a torn ACL in the final game of the regular season, hindering his on-field contributions.

Nevertheless, his on-field contributions have declined recently, raising questions about the team’s decision to make a significant financial commitment to him. This downturn likely contributed to the Cowboys’ decision to part ways with the talented wide receiver.

After spending six seasons with the Cowboys after being selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Colorado State, Gallup’s journey with the team has ended.

As the Cowboys prepare for the upcoming season, they will do so without two key weapons, signaling a new era for the team’s receiving corps.

Shabiha Akter

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Shabiha, once a casual observer, has morphed into a die-hard NFL fan. She carefully dissects every play, trade, and strategy. Whether it's breaking down game highlights or predicting playoff outcomes, Shabiha is your go-to source for all things NFL.


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