When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys' linebackers, the poor keep getting poorer. After losing Leighton Vander Esch for 6-8 weeks last Sunday with an injury, it's being reported today that Sean Lee will not be returning to the team until at least Week 8 with his own health issue.
Lee started the season on injured reserve with a hernia. Under the unique COVID-19 rules in 2020, that meant Sean could have returned as soon as Week 4 after serving the minimum three weeks on IR.
Unfortunately, it sounds like the Cowboys will now be without two of their top-three linebackers until the middle of the season.
Sources: #Cowboys LB Sean Lee is expected to be out six weeks after undergoing hernia surgery last week in Philadelphia with noted specialist Dr. William Meyers. Lee started the season on injured reserve and now is looking at a mid-October return.
These losses left Dallas with just Jaylon Smith, Joe Thomas, and Justin March as fully healthy linebackers on the active roster. Luke Gifford was inactive last week as he continues to get over a nagging hamstring injury from camp, but hopefully will be able to contribute in Week 2.
Given how shorthanded they were, it's no surprise that the Cowboys made a move yesterday to add some additional LB depth.
Cowboys elected not to promote LB Francis Bernard from practice squad, signing LB Rashad Smith off Bears' PS instead. But they'll be protecting Bernard for a second straight week. No other team can sign him. This was only way Dallas could have both Bernard and Smith in building.
Smith was an undrafted rookie out of Florida Atlantic University who joined the Bears immediately after the draft. He was with them through training camp but failed to make the roster.
According to NFL rules, the Cowboys had to sign Rashad to their official roster to get him off Chicago's practice squad. They will also have the option to use Francis Bernard in the game this week if they wish; another COVID-19 provision that allows for 1-2 practice squad players to be active in games.
While some are excited to see players like Bernard and Gifford getting more playing time there's no question that Dallas will suffer without Leighton Vander Esch or Sean Lee on the field. Depending on how the next game goes, we'll see if the Cowboys aren't forced to make a more significant move to help the LB group.