FRISCO, Texas – Dallas Cowboys will not take Leighton Vander Ash’s fifth option for 2022, according to his agent Ron Slavin, which will make the first round of 2018 choose an unlimited free agent after the upcoming season.
The story of Vander Ash’s injuries is the biggest reason. He has missed 13 games in the last two seasons, starting with a neck injury that required surgery in 2019 and cost him seven games. He missed six games in 2020 due to a broken collarbone. If the Cowboys had chosen the option, $ 9.1 million would have been fully guaranteed.
Before officially deciding to turn down the option, executive vice president Stephen Jones said over a weekend project that the team would still like to keep Vander Ash after 2021
Vander Ash’s best season came as a rookie when he was selected for the Pro Bowl after the Cowboys selected him as number 19 overall. In 2018, he had a record for a rookie franchise of 176 battles, including 19 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also had five quarterback pressures, six assists and two interceptions.
Some teams were worried about his health, leaving the state of Boise, but the Cowboys took the chance. However, he injured his neck in an awkward collision with a teammate of equipment in 2019 and underwent surgery to relieve a nervous problem. Then in the new team last season, he received a broken collarbone in the first quarter.
The Cowboys have a lifeback, Jalen Smith, on a contract until 2025, but they can get out of his deal in terms of salary without much trouble. In this year’s NFL version, the Cowboys chose backer Mika Parsons in the first round, but believe his flexibility will allow them to use all three players at once. In the fourth round, the Cowboys prepared LSU backback Jabril Cox.
Vander Ash is the third first-round pick not to take his option from the cowboys since the rookie pay system was introduced. Maurice Claiborne, selected for the first round in 2012, signed a one-year deal with the cowboys after the 2015 season, and 2017 first-grader Taco Charlton was released in 2019.