Getty Former Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Jayon Brown
The Dallas Cowboys are poised for a big division win, but the loss of Leighton Vander Esch could require a strengthening of the team. As far as potential additions go, one name stands out, former Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Jayon Brown.
It’s a bad blow for both the Cowboys and Vander Esch, whose recurring neck injuries may mean a premature end to his career. However, Dallas needs to find a solution for the future. An immediate option would be adding Brown.
To begin with, Brown is no Vander Esch and probably wouldn’t surpass Rashaan Evans. Evans just delivered a solid performance after being called up from the practice squad. Other than that, it was against a New York Giants team that is dead in the water.
Adding someone like Brown ensures that the Cowboys at least have several experienced options. Evans has looked good in a limited role, but there is no guarantee he will continue like this.
Like Evans, Brown has provided glimpses of excellence in the NFL. There is very little risk in signing him to a practice squad contract, but it secures and potentially enhances the defense’s capabilities.
Brown’s career stalled due to injuries
After his second season in the NFL, Jayon Brown appeared to be a rising star in the NFL. The Titans have built an identity around getting the most out of their defenders, and Brown is a perfect example.
Brown was a fifth-round pick in 2017 and spent his rookie year acclimating to the league. But in 2018, the former UCLA Bruin demonstrated his talent. According to PFR, the 28-year-old recorded 64 solo tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and six passes defensed with a pick-six.
Considering he only started nine games, that’s an incredible impact. In almost every category, Brown showed great performance in the box score. 2019 was also impressive: eight passes were defended, one pick was hit and 69 solo tackles were recorded.
But the risk of injury hit Brown hard. For three consecutive years, Brown was placed on injured reserve with varying injuries. He missed 22 games but still managed two INTs and managed 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one sack in the 28 games of that span.
Cowboys see former LB Reject Eagles for Vikings
As Dallas decides how to handle the Vander Esch situation, they just saw former linebacker Anthony Barr sign with the Minnesota Vikings. Barr didn’t play for Dallas until 2022, but was a solid backup amid injury issues. However, he was not re-signed by the Cowboys and only landed with a new team this week.
Barr signed with the Vikings on November 13th, Heavy’s DJ Siddiqi recently reported. The four-time Pro Bowler is also reportedly considering the Philadelphia Eagles. Barr instead chose to return to Minneapolis for another season.
The Cowboys and Vikings will not currently play each other this season. However, like the Cowboys, the Vikings are making a playoff push. In a scenario where they meet, one of the two teams would likely have to win their division.
Evan Reier is a sports reporter who covers the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com. He previously covered sports for the Montana Standard and was managing editor for Outsider. More about Evan Reier
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