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All-Pro Free Agent Hoping for a New Opportunity, May Still Sign

Here is how All-Pro free agent Shaquille Leonard is hoping for a new opportunity but may sign with a team this year.
leonard hoping new opportunity

All-Pro free agent linebacker Shaquille Leonard is hoping for a new opportunity so he may still sign with a team before this upcoming season. The veteran is coming off one of the best four-year starts to his career but his chances with a roster are winding down. Leonard is a one-time AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after leading the league in tackles in 2018. His three Pro Bowl nods and All-Pro selection made him one of the elite linebackers in the game but it’s sidetracking now due to average play and injuries.

Leonard had the chance to speak about his future at the Maniac Foundation outside of Indianapolis this past weekend. He’s looking for a new team to sign with but if it doesn’t happen, he’s happy to hang out up the cleats. His career derailed in 2022 after suffering a concussion, broken nose and back issues. Leonard never got back to his old self so the Colts gave him a chance after nine unproductive starts but he went to the Eagles to reignite his career.

Training camp is just one month away and there haven’t been any teams reaching out to Leonard. If this is it, he’ll leave the league with 637 tackles, 31 passes defended, 17 forced fumbles and 16 sacks. However, never say never in this league knowing that Leonard could always take a break this year before attempting to make an NFL comeback. Either way, he’ll be around for any team that needs some insurance policy to their defense.

“You’re blessed to be able to treat people with respect,” Leonard said. “I feel like I carried myself in the right way. I respect them and their decision to walk away from me. It doesn’t take away from our relationship as people.”

All-Pro Free Agent Shaquille Leonard Hoping for a New Opportunity, May Still Sign

Next Possible Teams

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are walking into this season with a lot to prove this upcoming year with new weapons for Bryce Young on offense. However, Carolina has been revamping their defense as well after signing Jadeveon Clowney to add some insurance policy to their linebacker corps. Josey Jewell may have some large shoes to fill but the team doesn’t want their guy to take on all of the workload. They should be able to bring in one more veteran to team alongside Clowney to continue to bolster the defense.

Carolina doesn’t necessarily need to add a game-changer linebacker but someone who can help come in the rotation in crucial moments.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are walking in this year with one of the best defenses that everyone could expect to blow up. However, Patrick Queen departing for rival the Bengals should give them the motivation to add one more veteran to reinforce their group. Roquan Smith will continue being their top linebacker but that leaves some depth issues for Baltimore. One thing they would want to avoid is injuries and not knowing how to back it up.

Leonard isn’t perfect or the same but he’s a cost-effective option for a team that needs a linebacker.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were looking into Leonard before deciding that he was going to the Eagles to attempt to go on a run for a Super Bowl. It didn’t work out for either party but Dallas should have some interest in him after seeing that he doesn’t have anywhere else to go. His availability could intrigue the team, especially following Leighton Vander-Esch’s retirement. After signing with Dallas this offseason, the team needs some help alongside Eric Kendricks.

The Cowboys are still dipping their toes in the water after signing Willie Harvey Jr. out of the UFL. They could be doing the same with Leonard.


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