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Should the Cowboys Restructure LB Sean Lee’s Contract?

Jess Haynie



Does Cowboys Defense Deserve Pass In Sean Lee's Absence? 1

Needing to free up cap space before the 2018 NFL free agent market opens next week, the Dallas Cowboys have a few different options available. One involves restructuring the contract veteran linebacker Sean Lee, but Dallas will need to give it some serious thought.

Some restructuring, such as what we'll likely see with Travis Frederick, is a no-brainer. The All-Pro center hasn't missed a game in five years with the club and turns just 27 this month. He is signed through 2023, when he'll be 32 years old, and figures to play out that full contract.

Sean Lee, certainly every bit as good a linebacker as Frederick is a center, has a different set of circumstances. The defensive leader will already be 32 as of July. He missed four games last year due to injury; a scary reminder of his health problems from past seasons.

Lee is set to count about $11 million against the Cowboys 2018 salary cap. With a restructuring, his base salary of $7 million could be whittled down to make at least $5 million in immediate cap space.

If this happens, Sean's final contract year in 2019 would become almost untouchable. As it stands, next year has about a $10 million cap hit and $3 million in guaranteed money. Freeing up money in 2018 turns it into guaranteed money in 2019, meaning Dallas would have little-to-no flexibility in cutting Lee next season.

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

Some may have no issue with that, assuming the Cowboys would have no reason to part with the captain of their defense. But if Lee were to have more injury issues in 2018, or if being 32 years old finally started to show up in his play, the Cowboys might want to have the option to part ways.

If Dallas does nothing with Lee's contract now, they could cut him in 2019 for about $7 million cap space. Every dollar they'd convert now lowers that number, and thus reduces their leverage.

Unfortunately, the Cowboys may have to forego future leverage for the present.

After placing the franchise tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence yesterday, the Cowboys lost about $17 million in cap space. They are down to almost nothing with free agency opening on March 14th.

There are other moves to make, such as we discussed with Travis Frederick. Dallas could also restructure Tyron Smith and Jason Witten, or makes some easy cuts with guys like James Hanna and Benson Mayowa.

And of course, there's also whatever they decide to do with Dez Bryant.

Ideally, the Cowboys would not touch Sean Lee's deal and keep their 2019 option open. But they will be certainly be tempted to restructure him given the potential relief, banking on two more great seasons on the defensive leader.

While Dez may present the toughest choice of 2018, the contracts of veterans like Lee and Witten aren't far behind. The Cowboys have to find the right balance between past, present, and future to make this offseason a success.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

  • XaqFields

    I’m very disappointed you’re not even considering the Dez Bryant 8-year extension idea I floated to you yesterday.

  • Travis Diggs

    Its crazy how the most often injured player on the roster never has to restructure his contract ever. Sean Lees injured Every damn season but they rather make everybody else restructure

  • Derek Robinson

    Dallas should restructure who’s ever contract they need to get this team back on a long playoff run. Quit talking about it, and be about it.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Sean Lee is a question. Spotrac shows a restructure total of 4 million. It looks like a restructure each year over the last 4 years. Maybe I’m reading it wrong. I think the Cowboys should go for a restructure/extension of a couple of years. Take some from Sean and use it to keep Hitchens. Sign Hitch to a 3 or 4 year deal and draft a LB, maybe 2.

    • BUDDY

      Not enough picks to draft two linebackers! We have way too many holes to fill and not enough draft picks! We literally need like 10-12 draft picks and even if we did have that many we would need all of them to actually be quality draft picks and how often does that happen?

      • EverybodyTalks

        Buddy, Thanks for your reply. Not sure I can agree with ‘Needs”, maybe you’re thinking “Wants”. We have 10 picks so that matches your concern of 10-12. Please tell me where you see these 10-12 positions holes. We will need a Safety to fill the slot left by Byron Jones going to CB. Therefore, we don’t “need” a CB, especially with Marquez White on the PS. We definitely need a Guard, even if we resign Cooper. We need an LB, maybe two, but that depends on what we do with Hitchens. We don’t need a QB, a TE (we have 5), or a WR. We do need a interior DL3, with Mayowa being released. We do have Tapper returning. We need a back-up Swing Tackle and hopefully we leave Chaz Green as a Back-up for Tyron. So a S, DL3, G, and a LB. Those are definite “holes”. The rest are back-ups and developmental positions – OT, QB, RB, WR.That is still only 8. Therefore, I see the possibility of a late round LB.


    Let Lee play this year and cut him next year or let him be the backup in 19 and don’t resign him after next year. We need LB depth with Speed and toughness, Lee is good when he is healthy but time is catching him. It’s time for Lee and Whitten to retire, yes they have been Great but it’s time to get more from their positions.

Player News

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018 1

Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.

Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of...

While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018

Dallas Cowboys LS L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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