2020 NFL free agency: Cowboys, Sean Lee agree to new deal that will keep him in Dallas for 2020


Sean Lee has made his decision. The veteran linebacker hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his 10-year career when the new league year opened on March 18, and no one could blame Lee for wanting to review all his options. His resurgent 2019 season boosted his value on the open market and after entertaining the possibility of leaving — which might’ve included following his longtime head coach Jason Garrett to the New York Giants — he’s decided to remain with the Cowboys in 2020, per his agent. 

A source confirms the deal is for one year and worth a max value of $4.5 million, with $2 million guaranteed. 

Despite optimism on the health of Leighton Vander Esch, who is expected to be ready for offseason conditioning whenever it is permitted to begin, sources told CBS Sports in early February that an attractive offer had been made to keep Lee around. Unlike the lack of a future in Dallas for Jason Witten, who is now with the Las Vegas Raiders, newly-signed head coach Mike McCarthy was enthralled with what Lee brings to the table at 33 years of age. 

After all, following continued questions about his durability, Lee answered the bell in 2019 with 13 starts in 16 games, delivering 86 combined tackles, four pass deflections, a sack and an interception in the process. Lee rejoins a rotation that includes both Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, ensuring the Cowboys have at minimum three starting-caliber, impact linebackers on the roster. This reduces the need to look at using a premium pick on one on the draft, or being forced to overpay for a veteran in free agency to come in and fill the void left behind by Lee.

Instead, the former Penn State star selected 55th-overall in 2010 by the Cowboys will avoid having to wear a different jersey for the first time in his career. One year after approaching the Cowboys to accept a pay cut to stay with the club in 2018, he’s now decided — yet again — Dallas is where he’d like to be and likely finish his NFL career.





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