Cowboys Acquire Rolando McClain, Place Sean Lee On IR

THURSDAY, 11:04am: The Cowboys’ official site has provided clarity on the draft picks potentially changing hands in this deal. Here are the details:

  • If McClain plays 50% or more of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps in 2014, the Ravens receive a 2015 sixth-round pick and the Cowboys receive a 2015 seventh-round pick.
  • If McClain doesn’t play 50% of the defensive snaps but is on the 53-man roster for five games or the 46-man roster for three games, the Cowboys will swap 2016 seventh-round picks with Baltimore, assuming Dallas’ pick is higher.
  • Otherwise, no picks will change hands.

WEDNESDAY, 4:59pm: According to Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter), the Cowboys now say they sent a seventh-round pick to Baltimore in the McClain deal, and that the seventh-rounders going both ways are for 2016, rather than 2015.

9:35am: The sixth-round pick the Cowboys are including in the deal is conditional based on McClain’s playing time, says Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter). It’s not clear what picks, if any, would change hands if McClain doesn’t play, but presumably the Ravens’ seventh-rounder wouldn’t go anywhere in that case either.

TUESDAY, 5:00pm: The Cowboys have acquired linebacker Rolando McClain and a 2015 seventh-round pick from the Ravens in exchange for a 2015 sixth-rounder, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter). In a corresponding roster move, Dallas has placed linebacker Sean Lee, who tore his ACL last month, on injured reserve, tweets’s Field Yates.

McClain, 24, was selected by the Raiders at pick No. 8 in the 2010 draft. After being released in April 2013, he signed with Baltimore, but retired a month later. In March of this year, he announced his intentions to return to the NFL, but retired a second time in April. He was once again reinstated from the reserve/retired list today. Over the course of three seasons, McClain has amassed 175 tackles and 6.5 sacks, while grading out positively each year per Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required).

Dallas will assume the contract McClain signed with Baltimore, which pays him $700K in non-guaranteed base salary, and contains another $400K in incentives based on playing time, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (Twitter link). Provided he commits to playing out the season, McClain could be a worthwhile addition for the Cowboys, especially given the low cost to acquire him.

McClain will presumably compete with Justin Durant and fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens to replace Lee at middle linebacker. Lee, who signed a six-year extension worth $42.6MM last August, has now suffered three ACL injuries (two on his left leg) in a six-year span.

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