NFL Rumors: Shaq Leonard timeline, Packers legend’s new home, more Steelers drama

  • Mike Tomlin challenges Diontae Johnson to address effort issues
  • Packers legend Mason Crosby works out for Saints
  • Shaq Leonard decision expected "over the weekend"

Shaq Leonard, Indianapolis Colts
Shaq Leonard, Indianapolis Colts / Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY
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NFL Rumors: Shaq Leonard to make free agent decision "over the weekend"

The Indianapolis Colts waived 28-year-old Shaquille Leonard last week. The move came as a shock, as Leonard started in all nine of his appearances prior to the move. A former second-round pick, Leonard has three Pro Bowl nominations and a Defensive Rookie of the Year award on his résumé.

Leonard amassed 65 tackles in his nine games, but he has generally not performed up to expectations since 2021, when he underwent back surgery. The former Colt appeared in only three games last season and his ability to apply pressure has diminished.

Still, there's natural interest around the league in a player of Leonard's stature who is still theoretically in his prime window. Leonard led the NFL in forced fumbles (eight) in 2021 and he led the league in tackles (163) in 2018. His history of strong production earned him workouts with the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, according to NFL insider Jordan Schultz. A decision on his next home is expected "over the weekend."

One could argue that Leonard is choosing between the NFC frontrunners. The Cowboys' defense has allowed the third-fewest yards per game in the NFL this season. The Eagles' defensive depth is well-documented. Leonard probably won't step directly into a starting role with either franchise, but he warrants practice reps and a legitimate opportunity to play.

If Leonard can recapture his pre-surgery magic, his next team is going to be extremely content. It's only natural to want to join a contender. The Eagles and Cowboys both have a realistic shot at the Super Bowl; Leonard is still equipped to contribute at the highest level, even if he's not as consistently or reliably dominant as his early years.

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