FRISCO, Texas – Sean Lee will return to the Dallas Cowboys for his eleventh season with the team, after accepting a one-year contract.
“I am excited to be back with such an amazing organization,” Lee told ESPN. “There is no better place to try to win a championship than Dallas.”
The deal is for $ 4.5 million with $ 2 million fully guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
With Leighton Vander Esch recovering from neck surgery and Jaylon Smith not at the level he played in 2018, Lee gives the Cowboys options at the linebacker position. His return also stems from losses in free agency from players like Byron Jones (Miami), Robert Quinn (Chicago). Jeff Heath and Maliek Collins (Las Vegas).
After an injury-ridden career, linebacker Sean Lee (right) was able to play 2018 in all games on the regular schedule with the Cowboys. Getty Images / Richard Rodriguez
After contemplating retirement after the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Lee played in all games last season for the first time in his career. The two-time Pro Bowl pick started in 13 games and was credited by the coaches with 109 tackles, one sack and one interception.
Lee’s playing time increased dramatically as the season progressed after Vander Esch was sidelined with a neck injury.
Lee, who turned 34 in July, said he believed he could make a valuable contribution, even without playing all defensive plays. He finished with a 59.1 percent stake in defensive plays last year, earning him an extra $ 1 million.
In 2010, the Cowboys recruited Lee in the second round of the draft because the linebacker suffered a partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Despite the risk, the Cowboys selected him and his knee gave way until 2014. Since then, Lee has struggled with various injuries, particularly to the thigh, wrist, toes, and neck.
Lee has recorded at least 100 tackles in seven of his nine campaigns. He had his lowest total in 2018 at 37, when he was limited to seven games by recurring thigh problems. He also has 14 career interceptions with two of them returned for touchdown.