The latest Dallas Cowboys news is shedding some light on why Shaquille Leonard chose to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles over a move to Big D. Owner Jerry Jones addressed the rumors regarding why the Cowboys fell short. Jones shot down the notion that there were financial reasons.
All signs point to Leonard believing the Eagles could get him closer to a Super Bowl than the Cowboys. Jones wished Leonard well but made it clear that he wanted the star to “wish he was on the winning side” when the two teams meet in Week 14. The rivalry game gets even more juice with Leonard’s decision to pass on Dallas in favor of Philly.
“Again, I want to point out that we certainly talked to him and were interested on a certain basis if he could come in,” Jones explained during a December 5, 2023 interview with 105.3 The Fan’s “Shan & RJ.” “And he decided on Philadelphia and that’s it. Let’s just do everything we can to make him wish he was on the winning side [on] Sunday.”
Jerry Jones on Shaq Leonard Joining the Eagles: ‘There Was Never a Financial Issue at All’
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2023
Leonard was surprisingly cut by the Colts on November 21 leading to free-agent visits to Dallas and Philadelphia. Jones revealed that he believes Leonard’s decision came down to the team that gave him the “best chance” to win a Super Bowl.
“Certainly, on an individual basis, I wish him the best,” Jones remarked. “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.”
Cowboys Rumors: Dallas Was Viewed as the Better Fit for Shaq Leonard Around the NFL
Shaq Leonard's versatility and ability to create turnovers was very appealing to the #Eagles.
Leonard's high football acumen will help him digest Sean Desai's defense — and I expect him to play a key role for Philly down the stretch.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) December 4, 2023
Prior to Leonard’s decision, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that belief around the league was that the Cowboys were the best fit. Ultimately, Leonard did not share this opinion creating plenty of Cowboys news by signing with the Eagles.
“We’re seeing a mini NFC East head-to-head with a few free agents this week,” Fowler wrote on December 2 in an article titled, “NFL Week 13 predictions, fantasy sleepers, key stats, buzz.” “The Eagles and Cowboys are both vying for linebacker Shaquille Leonard, who will likely decide between these teams this weekend.
“A few scouts I spoke to believe Dallas is the best fit, as he can slide into that Leighton Vander Esch role. And the Eagles figure to be in on a Zach Ertz reunion. Baltimore could be one to watch there, too, after losing Mark Andrews to injury.”
Cowboys News: Dallas Is Expecting to Face Shaq Leonard in Week 14
Shaq Leonard has arrived in Philadelphia to sign with the #Eagles
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) December 5, 2023
The Cowboys are expecting Leonard play in their upcoming Sunday Night Football matchup. Jones admits that late-season cuts have become a new trend for veterans like Leonard.
“Well, of course, we very easily could see him out here against us Sunday,” Jones said. “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.”