The Dallas Cowboys are likely going to place starting linebacker Leighton Vander Esch on injured reserve this week, so it would seem like their next step would be finding a veteran player to replace him.
On Wednesday, the Cowboys started that process by bringing in free agent linebacker Rashaan Evans.
Veteran linebacker Rashaan Evans is in Dallas today on a free agent visit with the #Cowboys, per source. Former first-round pick could help Dallas’ depth coming off Leighton Vander Esch injury.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 11, 2023
Evans is a former first-round pick of the 2018 class by the Tennessee Titans. He played four seasons with the Titans, recording 317 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits, and three sacks.In 2022, he started all 17 games for the Atlanta Falcons, racking up a career-high 159 tackles and adding six tackles for loss and two sacks. Evans was most recently with the Eagles on their practice squad in September but was released four days after signing.
Signing Evans seems like a good fit for the Cowboys, considering the longest-tenured NFL player is Malik Jefferson, who is still on the practice squad and could be signed to the active roster after Vander Esch’s designation.Second-year player Damone Clark has had his ups and downs this season, but taking on the leading role at middle linebacker could be a tough ask for someone still finding their way. Micah Parsons has experience playing linebacker and could play more of a hybrid role, but he’s most effective on the line of scrimmage rushing the quarterback.
Another thing to consider here is that the Cowboys could be competing with the Buffalo Bills, who could also be in the market for veteran linebackers after Matt Milano went down with a season-ending injury on Sunday.
If the front office and coaching staff feel like Evans could fill in while Vander Esch takes time to recover from his neck injury, the deal should happen sooner rather than later. When the Cowboys usually like an available player, they typically don’t let them leave the building without a deal.
Update: 11:15am ET
The Cowboys are also visiting with Brandon Smith, according to the DMN. In fact this report notes that Dallas is set to visit with “at least” four linebackers.
According to multiple people with knowledge of the situation, Cowboys will visit with linebackers Brandon Smith and Rahsaan Evans today at The Star. At least four LBs are scheduled for visits.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) October 11, 2023
Update: 11:18am ET
ESPN’s Todd Archer has the other names.
In addition to Rashaan Evans (@JFowlerESPN), the Cowboys will have LBs Tanner Vallejo, Brandon Smith and Jordan Evans in for workouts at The Star. With Leighton Vander Esch out with a neck injury, Cowboys have an LB need, also special team need with C.J. Goodwin (pectoral) out.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) October 11, 2023
We will see who they wind up going with.