Dallas Cowboys star linebacker Sean Lee is mulling a return for the 2019 season. If he does, he will likely be playing in another uniform.
Sean Lee was once considered one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He could get to the ball quickly, would fill up holes in an instant, and reminded fans of the outside linebackers of old.
There’s one issue with that, his playing style made him prone to injuries in today’s NFL. In eight seasons, he’s never played a full 16 games. That’s the whole reason why Lee is still pondering whether retirement is his best option despite only being 32 years old.
His injury history also implored the Dallas Cowboys to spend their first-round pick this year on a linebacker. They chose Leighton Vander Esch with the 19th pick, and boy was it a good pick. He ended up playing so well he made the Pro Bowl. He was so good, that Cowboys fans weren’t worried about when Lee was returning after his latest injury, because Vander Esch seemed like he took his spot at the position.
Not only did Vander Esch play lights out, but so did Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson. This is one of the best linebacking cores in the NFL without Lee.
Lee told KTCK “The Ticket” that he’s leaning towards returning to the NFL next season. Obviously, it’s very early in the offseason, and the Cowboys season just ended so things may change, but looking at the Cowboys salary cap and depth chart, Lee may not fit.
According to Over The Cap, his contract comes with a $10 million salary cap hit, and it’s the final year of his deal. If the Cowboys decide to cut Lee, they would save $7 million next year, which would help pay Amari Cooper and possibly give a major raise to Dak Prescott.
There will be teams looking to sign Lee to a one-year deal if he does decide to return despite his injury history. No team would give him the kind of money he’s set to make this season ($7 million in actual dollars), but a team would be willing to give him a one-year deal to give them a possible boost. Look at it to be a team that may still be playing, like the New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs, who could use another veteran presence in their front seven with some upside.
It was a very good career for Lee with the Cowboys, but they clearly moved on. He’s just too expensive, and the Cowboys need that money to go elsewhere. Even if he would be willing to take a pay cut, it just doesn’t look like there’s room for Lee on the Cowboys next season.