The Cowboys want Sean Lee to be a member of their defense in 2019, but they aren’t willing to pay him $7 million to keep him in the fold.
There was a time when Sean Lee was the most important member of the Cowboys defense. His influence on the group declined sharply in 2018. That’s why the Cowboys want the veteran linebacker to take a pay cut if he wants to stay with the team this season.
Reports emanating from Dallas claim that Jerry Jones and the Dallas front office have already informed Lee that he’ll be a reserve next season. The recent additions of Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith have pushed him down the depth chart at linebacker. The unfortunate truth for Lee is that the Cowboys defense now can survive without him on the field.
It’s expected that Lee will accept a restructured deal that will closely resemble the contract Jason Witten recently signed to return from retirement. The veteran tight end will earn $2 million in base salary but he also has the ability to earn an extra $3 million on performance based incentives. Lee will likely be forced to take a substantial pay cut, but if he’s able to regain his spot in the starting lineup he could make something close to his original salary for the season.
Lee’s hope must be that he can enjoy a healthier 2019 campaign. Injuries limited him to just seven games last season. That’s a big reason why Vander Esch and Smith were able to take his playing time. Presumably, Lee could find a way to earn a multiyear contract extension with the Cowboys with a productive season.
No matter what, Lee’s days as the leader of the Cowboys defense are likely over for good. If he wants to remain in Dallas for the long haul, he’ll need to accept a reduced role and reduced compensation. The fact that he’s willing to accept a pay cut this season is a good sign that he’s determined to play his entire career with the Cowboys.