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Rookie Notebook: Vander Esch Signs; More


FRISCO, Texas – The first day on the job was certainly a productive one for rookie Leighton Vander Esch

Not only was he on the field for two practices, had yet another interview with the local media in between, had meetings with his position group early and later in the day, but there was something else in store for the Cowboys' first-round pick. 

He put a few bucks in his pocket as well. 

While the Cowboys did not make terms of the deal official, it was in the neighborhood of four years, $11.2 million with an option for a fifth year. Last year, tight end O.J. Howard was the 19thpick and signed a four-year, $11.09 million deal.

After seven other rookies signed their deals earlier in the day, it leaves only third-round pick Michael Gallup as the remaining drafted player to sign. That is no unusual considering the unique language that comes with third-round picks, making them a little more difficult to sign. Two years ago, Maliek Collins was the last player to sign, as was cornerback Jourdan Lewis, another third-round pick. 

But before signing his contract, Vander Esch had a good day on the field, although it wasn't exactly a full-fledged football practice. 

"It was just awesome getting out there with the guys and putting the stuff the coaches are teaching us to good use," Vander Esch said. "Being here and being part of the program. It's really special. You have to earn your spot every single day and every minute, and every hour." - Nick Eatman