Cowboys will regret letting promising LB free agent sign with Eagles

There’s nothing the current Dallas Cowboys regime loves more than drafting and possibly re-signing their homegrown talent.

While roster continuity is paramount to a winning culture, the front office’s reluctance — or sheer reluctance — to sign outside free agents unless those players come in at the perfect price has drawn the ire of fans.

As for the linebacker job, it wasn’t all that surprising to see Leighton Vander Esch return. The former first-round pick’s cap has obviously been hampered by the litany of injuries he’s suffered over the course of his career, but he (if healthy) can be a stable presence at the second tier of defense.

Since Vander Esch only signed up to $3 million, Cowboys fans immediately thought the team would always be looking to add to the position. Bobby Wagner is the dream, but this looks like another case of a high profile free agent using Dallas as leverage to sign a big contract.

While there’s still rookie-caliber talent braving free agency, we have a feeling Dallas will regret it. let Kyzir White sign with the Eagles. Signed for just $5 million a year, the Cowboys would have to kick themselves for not being on the former Chargers linebacker.

The Cowboys should have been on free agent LB Kyzir White.

It pains us to admit it, but it’s a job well done by Howie Roseman and the Eagles organization. After a career year, Pro Football Focus had projected White, who they ranked as the eighth best free agent linebacker this offseason, to sign for a guaranteed sum of $8 million. The Eagles get him for $5 million, it’s like a robbery.

A former West Virginia college safety, White made the transition to a full-time linebacker role with the Chargers last season and to say he exceeded expectations would be an understatement.

In 17 games, White compiled 144 combined tackles, the eighth of all linebackers in the league. He added seven tackles for loss, two interceptions, four QB hits, three passes defended and two forced fumbles.

White is far from a finished product, but he’s reliable against the run and has had four consecutive seasons with coverage ratings above 60.0, per PFF. Pretty impressive for an off-ball linebacker in today’s NFL.

Simply put, White is a promising young linebacker and his bizarre athleticism would have been a dream pairing alongside Vander Esch and Micah Parsons. His presence would also have allowed Parsons more freedom to occupy himself as a passing thrower, where he obviously excels.

The good news is that free agency is far from over and the draft is right around the corner, so the Cowboys can still rectify that mistake. For just $5 million, however, White feels like the one who ran away for the front office.

After all, Dallas’ LB corps behind Parsons and Vander Esch consists of Luke Gifford, who recorded just 33 defensive snaps during his three-year career, and Jabril Cox, who suffered a torn ACL in just seven games into his rookie season in 2021.

Reinforcements had better be on their way.

Christy J. Olson