Linebacker Shaquille Leonard had offers from the Cowboys and the Eagles. He picked the Eagles, signing a one-year deal Tuesday.
The Eagles play the Cowboys in a key NFC East showdown on Sunday.
The Cowboys were disappointed but likely not surprised by Leonard’s decision considering his relationship with Eagles head coach Nick Sirriani, who was an assistant coach with the Colts for three seasons.
“Well, of course, we very easily could see him out here against us Sunday,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday. “I just have to almost step back when I think about man, these are the times we’re in when a player like that could be available and pick his team – which he can and does – and be on the field within three or four days. It’s just a unique period of time. Not in any way – if I sound like I’m complaining, I’m not – but that’s just unique to me to think he can hit the ground running and be out there playing against us Sunday.
“Certainly, on an individual basis, I wish him the best. He deserves that. He’s had a very distinguished career. There was absolutely never any money mentioned. I met with him, had lunch with him and had a good visit with him, but there was never a financial issue at all. So, that wasn’t the case in any way. He apparently wanted to go where he thought he had the best chance. I certainly recognize and honor his decision there. It never was an issue for us regarding our confidence that we’ve got in our linebackers.”
The Cowboys lost linebacker Leighton Vander Esch to a season-ending neck injury. But they are pleased with the play of now starter Markquese Bell and with backup Rashaan Evans, who has gotten more playing time recently.