Former Colts LB Shaq Leonard signs with Eagles, intensifying rivalry with Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts former All-Pro linebacker Shaq Leonard has officially decided to join the Philadelphia Eagles over the Dallas Cowboys.

New England Patriots v Indianapolis Colts
New England Patriots v Indianapolis Colts / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

After being released by the Indianapolis Colts ahead of Week 12, four-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard took some time to visit two teams: the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. The bitter rivals are in similar positions: fighting for the best record in the NFC, despite needing help at the linebacker position.

After visiting with both squads, and taking the weekend to come to a decision, Leonard decided to join the Philadelphia Eagles. NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Leonard is signing a one-year deal with the 10-2 Eagles, as Philly tries to win a Super Bowl.

Shaq Leonard signs one-year deal with Eagles

Despite having the best record in the NFL, Philly is coming off an embarrassing Week 13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers went into Philadelphia on Sunday and defeated the Eagles 42-19. As the game was unfolding, everyone pointed out that San Francisco was taking advantage of Philly’s struggling and thin linebacker group. It was evident that the Eagles needed someone like Leonard to help them out.

Since entering the NFL in 2018, Shaq Leonard has been one of the league’s best linebackers. In six seasons with the Colts, he played in 70 games, recording 614 tackles, 32 for a loss, 15 sacks, 12 interceptions, and 17 forced fumbles. He won Defensive Rookie of the Year, was selected to three Pro Bowls, and was a four-time All-Pro. Unfortunately, multiple back surgeries and a regime change led to his time with the Colts ending abruptly.

Now, he’ll spend the rest of the season with the Philadelphia Eagles. His first game with the team will be against the Dallas Cowboys, in AT&T Stadium on Sunday Night Football. Leonard first visited the Cowboys, and they reportedly laid out the red carpet for him since they really could use his help. However, Leonard chose their rival. That’s just another fun factor thrown into the equation for what will already be a tense rivalry game on Sunday, with massive importance in league standings.