For the Dallas Cowboys, one of the things the team wanted to get done before the start of the 2013 season was to start extending some contracts using the cap space they had available, and the number one priority was middle linebacker Sean Lee. In his first three years, Lee has emerged as the quarterback of the defense and proven to be a relentless and talented player, but he has also missed time with injury in each season.
Check that item off the chore list. The Cowboys inked Lee to a contract extension today.
Lee signed a six-year extension worth as much as $51 million, including a $10 million signing bonus, according to a source. The base value of the deal is $42 million.
Lee was scheduled to make $630,000 in the final year of his rookie deal, but now will earn $16.13 million over the next two years.
Lee's deal includes playtime incentives that could push his total above the $42 million mark. Reports have it that if he plays 80% of the team's defensive snaps, he'll earn an additional $1.5 million each year from 2013 to 2018.
There is no question that Lee is a supremely talented athlete who, if he is not there already, is rapidly becoming the key leader of the defense. Intense, aggressive, and very physical, his reputation was made in the 3-4 defense, but all reports are that he is ideally suited to Monte Kiffin's 4-3. With Bruce Carter flanking him, he is poised to have a great year. If he can stay healthy.
The fact he only played six games before his rather freakish injury last year, and missed games in the previous two seasons as well, has led to several skeptical takes on the move. However, a bit of perspective is provided when the fact Lee's deal only includes $16.13 million guaranteed money is considered.
Couple comps for Sean Lee's contract: Patrick Willis (7 years, $53.5M, $29M guar.), Novorro Bowman (6 years, $46.4M, $25.5M guar.). Elite $— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 21, 2013
Yes, as many of you have pointed out, Sean Lee got significantly less guaranteed $ than his peers. That's Cowboys' injury insurance.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 21, 2013
The deal seems to be a good one for both the Cowboys and Lee, since the team can absorb the reasonable guaranteed money if Lee is lost prematurely, and Lee can collect some top level money if he can stay healthy.
That's one of the rising stars signed for the Cowboys. It may not be the last one before the start of the regular season, with Dez Bryant the name most often mentioned as next on the to-do list.
So what do you think about the deal, and are you looking forward to more extensions?
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