The Cowboys made a strong move in the right-direction in securing a competitive future today signing starting middle linebacker Sean Lee to a six-year extension that could be worth as much as $51 million. According to the salary listing at Spotrac.com this extension puts Sean Lee in the lower-tier of the top-10 highest paid at his position.
Sean Lee has had a roller-coaster career thus far consistently battling injuries that have taken playing time away from him. However, when he is healthy he is always among the top two defensive players on the field.
Before going down to an injury last year, Lee had 77 total tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in just six games. Despite being a bonafide gamer, Lee’s biggest value to the team remains with his leadership. Lee is a high-IQ guy who can make all the plays and also plays with excellent intensity and emotion. A personality that Dallas has been lacking in past years.
Now that Lee is healthy heading into 2013, expectations are high. Many expect that Lee could break the top-five at his position and is a candidate to lead the league in tackles. Lee gives the Cowboys a balanced, elite linebacker that is sharp in every facet. While Bruce Carter promises to emerge as a big-time layer in 2013, Sean Lee is still the prize of the the linebacker corps.
What’s most interesting about Lee’s contract is that it was team-friendly. There wasn’t any back-and-forth negotiations stemming from a players inflated perception of self-value or the front offices painful penny pinching. Instead, there seemed to be a mutual respect and desire to get this deal done. In many ways both sides were generous. The Jones’ could have argued that Lee’s injury history should threaten his pay scale and Lee could have argued that his on-the-field execution is worth more money.
Now the Cowboys have started a string of crucial contract extensions that will cement their status as future contenders. They’ve locked up a leader and a guy who showed that it’s not all about money. Let’s hope Dez, Tryon Smith and Bruce Carter follow suit.