ARLINGTON, Texas — A big name surprisingly hit the free agent market this week when the Indianapolis Colts released three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard. The 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year subsequently cleared waivers and has been linked to interest from the Dallas Cowboys in reports throughout the week.
When asked about Leonard after the Cowboys' 45-10 win over the Washington Commanders, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said that while he won't give an indication on the club's interest level one way or the other, that the Cowboys have made contact with Leonard's camp.
"Contact has been made, but I'm sure every team is assuming that if they are in the hunt, that they could have an interest in him," Jones said. "But first, we have some questions we need to check on health-wise, things like that. I don't, right now, want to be on that list. I want to go do our homework and do what we should be doing and see if this thing might fit us. We've done no more than that."
With the loss of veteran linebacker Leighton Vander Esch for the season, a potential addition of Leonard could bring back a veteran presence to the second level of the defense. As of now in the team's evaluation, Jones isn't sure of how big of an impact he could make.
"I don't know about that," he said. "We had a short meeting on that before the game and we'll see how we do with our evaluation. We'll look at him pretty good. Look at some health things. I know a lot of teams are looking at him. I don't want to give an indication of the degree of our interest with him."
The linebacker corps has been spearheaded by second-year players Damone Clark and Markquese Bell who have both played well with the larger roles they have taken on. Jones was quick to give them praise amongst the Leonard dialogue on Thursday.
"Well, [Clark] played outstanding out there tonight," Jones said. "I sure like the way overall we're playing – our linebackers are playing. I won't be commenting right now whether Leonard is a viable alternative for us or not."