Cowboys In Discussions With LB Sean Lee

The Cowboys remain in discussions with longtime linebacker Sean Lee, according to head coach Mike McCarthy (via Jon Machota of The Athletic). The 34-year-old is a candidate to retire, but he is apparently interested in a 12th season in Dallas.

The oft-injured ‘backer is long removed from his days as an elite defender, but he could still be useful in a rotational role. Though he played in just nine games in 2020, he played in all 16 contests in 2019 (including 13 starts) and ended that season on a high note. He tallied double-digit tackles in two of his final five games in 2019 and finished out with 86 stops, a sack, an interception, and four passes defensed, leading to a one-year, $4.5MM re-up last offseason.

But sports hernia surgery delayed Lee’s 2020 debut until Week 8, and he wound up recording just 20 tackles while playing in 16% of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps (both career lows outside of the 2014 season, which was wiped out completely due to an ACL tear). If he were to return, it would likely be for much less than his $4.5MM 2020 salary, and he would be the fourth LB on the depth chart behind Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and free agent acquisition Keanu Neal. The Cowboys, though, should have a real chance to win the NFC East in 2021, and Lee may want to sign up for one more chance at a deep postseason run.

In related news, McCarthy pushed back on a recent report indicating the Cowboys have informed Aldon Smith that he won’t be retained. One of 2020’s best comeback stories, Smith is not a great fit in the 4-3 scheme that Dallas will run under new DC Dan Quinn, so the report didn’t come as much of a surprise. Still, McCarthy said the team remains in contact with the 31-year-old pass rusher.

“That’s still fluid,” McCarthy said. “I personally haven’t moved on. I was in a conversation yesterday about Aldon, so we’ll see how that works out moving forward. … We’re still talking there.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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11 comments on “Cowboys In Discussions With LB Sean Lee

  1. kyle-22

    Speaking of aldon Smith, if I’m Pittsburgh, I would look his way as a cheap but possibly effective replacement for Bud Dupree. Also curious how Clowneys market is

  2. willthathrill08

    Dallas has never had a “deep post season run” since Lee’s been there haha and won’t happen this coming season.

  3. giants51

    Only the silly Cowboys…. Hes never healthy… It’s time to hang em up…

  4. Randy V

    A guy willing to take a small role and small check with incentives to keep the jersey on is old school and respectable. Its all about the price tag

    • crosseyedlemon

      Sadly there seems to fewer old school warriors with a burning competitive spirit in the league every season. Too many players today want to whine on Twitter about hard their life is being a millionaire.

    • rocky7

      $4.5 Million for 9 games with 20 tackles doesn’t exactly qualify as a ‘small check’ and nowhere in the article does it say he’s willing to take $1 Dollar less to play as much if not less this year….he realizes he has the Cowboys somewhat at a disadvantage at the Linebacker position……while he may very well be a bit of a throwback but that’s only because he’s being paid to keep coming back…he’s not doing this for nothing!

      • crosseyedlemon

        I don’t see Lee as having any leverage but your right about them always wanting to bring him back. That’s because of the passion he still has for the game despite being well past his prime. With a reduced cap for 2021 I think Sean would settle for less than that $4.5M number but we will see.

  5. seth3120

    That defense needs change and it should start with DC Nolan. McCarthy should never have been hired to make the decision to hire him but Nolan is hot garbage and nothing in his track record pointed to anything but regression when he was hired. That defensive took an enormous step back in 2020 and if the defense hadn’t been so horrid they could have to overcome Daks injury to at least win a god awful NFC East. Nolan hadn’t been a DC in a few years and the last time he was he coached the dead last ranking defense for the Falcons. It’s hard to judge each individual defensive player for the Cowboys because of how god awful they were coached. The right schemes and play calling puts players in position to make tackles, sacks, hurries, interceptions, etc. Maybe Lee is done but either just about every player had significant decline last year or they were poorly coached

  6. phillyballers

    Scheme will be better this year. Instead of using a draft pick for a depth LB they can retain Lee at the vet min with some incentives.

  7. MileHighFan

    Lee’s injury history – Courtesy of

    Aug 21, 2020 Inguinal Groin Sports Hernia
    Jul 30, 2019 Knee MCL Sprain Grade 2
    Nov 5, 2018 Thigh Hamstring Strain Grade 2
    Sep 23, 2018 Thigh Hamstring Strain Grade 2
    Nov 12, 2017 Thigh Hamstring Strain Grade 2
    Sep 25, 2017 Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1
    Dec 27, 2015 Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1
    Nov 8, 2015 Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1
    Oct 4, 2015 Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1
    May 27, 2014 Knee ACL Tear Grade 3
    Dec 9, 2013 Cervical Neck Strain
    Nov 10, 2013 Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1
    Oct 21, 2012 Pedal Toe Turf Toe
    Oct 30, 2011 Hand Wrist Dislocation
    Dec 19, 2010 Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1
    Sep 19, 2009 Knee PCL Sprain Grade 2
    Apr 15, 2008 Knee ACL Tear Grade 3

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