Veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore (L) was a five-time Pro Bowl selection over his first 11 NFL seasons. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo
March 15 (UPI) -- The Dallas Cowboys upgraded their defense, acquiring cornerback Stephon Gilmore in a trade and re-signing veteran linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, the team announced.
The team announced the deals Wednesday. They agreed to send a fifth-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for Gilmore. The Cowboys re-signed Gilmore to a two-year deal. Sources told ESPN, NFL Network and The Athletic that the pact is worth $11 million.
Gilmore signed with the Colts last off-season. The five-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro totaled 66 combined tackles, 11 passes defensed and two interceptions in 16 starts last season.
He received the ninth-best defensive rating among cornerbacks last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He received the sixth-best coverage grade at the position.
Gilmore spent his first five seasons with the Buffalo Bills. He signed with the New England Patriots in 2017. The Patriots traded Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers in 2021 in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
Vander Esch, 27, joined the Cowboys as the No. 19 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The five-year veteran and 2018 Pro Bowl selection totaled 90 combined tackles, a sack, a pass defensed and a forced fumble in 14 starts last season.
He received the 23rd-best defensive rating among linebackers last season from Pro Football Focus.
Earlier Wednesday, the Cowboys also signed safety Donovan Mitchell to a three-year deal worth up to $24 million. The pass-rushing defensive back totaled 203 combined tackles, nine tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, six passes defensed, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three interceptions through his first 51 games for the Cowboys.