After meeting with a pair of NFC East rivals, free agent linebacker Shaquille Leonard is expected to mull his next landing spot over the coming days and make a decision over the weekend, according to NFL Media. This development comes after Leonard, who was waived by the Colts last week, visited with the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday and, more recently, the Philadelphia Eagles, on Wednesday.
Both of these NFC East contenders have a need at the position due to injury, so Leonard could be looking at a substantial role in the middle of two high-profile defenses upon arrival. The Eagles did reach out to Leonard's camp to gauge his interest prior to Zach Cunningham suffering a hamstring injury in Sunday's win over the Bills. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis when Leonard was there. Being together for three years, Sirianni mentioned Monday he has a great relationship with Leonard.
"Made a lot of plays, that's for sure," Sirianni said. "He had a knack for the football and how to get the football. What I remember is just how, as an offensive coordinator, how hard he was to throw around. His length was comparable to Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone at Syracuse. He's going to make a play in the passing lane.
"He was a great teammate and I really enjoyed being around him. I still have a relationship with him. I think he is a great person, great teammate, and like I said, the main thing was the ball and the length that come to mind with that."
The Eagles are already down a linebacker with Nakobe Dean (injured reserve) and could be without Cunningham for an extended period pending his MRI results. If Cunningham is out, Christian Elliss would be next in line to start opposite of Nicholas Morrow at linebacker.
As for the Cowboys, they lost third-round rookie DeMarvion Overshown (ACL) for the season in training camp and then lost Leighton Vander Esch for the year earlier this season due to a neck injury, further thinning that position group. Leading up to his visit with Dallas, head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on Sunday that there's "definitely" interest.
So, it seems like only a matter of time before this off-the-field battle between these two division rivals plays out with the winner gaining some much-needed help at middle linebacker.