1. Shaq Thompson, Linebacker
For the second season in a row, the Cowboys and Leighton Vander Esch are making no progress on a new deal. The difference this year is that LVE is coming off a very strong campaign and should have some suitors. That means there’s not likely to be a late signing where he returns on a team-friendly deal.
The good news for them is that Damone Clark started to come on the more time he got on the field as a rookie. But they still need a third linebacker, especially with how often Micah Parsons plays on the edge.
One possible replacement for Vander Esch could be Shaq Thompson who is currently with the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina is in the midst of another coaching change and could be making some big moves to cut salary cap space. They started last year when they traded Christian McCaffrey and now, Thompson is rumored to be on the bubble.
A first-round pick in 2015, Thompson has 117 games under his belt and has recorded 706 tackles, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three picks in his career.
Should he hit the open market, Thompson should have plenty of suitors. He’s still been very effective and was the No. 24 linebacker in the league according to PFF. He would be a huge addition and even with Vander Esch’s improvement in 2022, would be an upgrade.