It’s hard to think that Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Sean Lee can get better than he already is.
However, that is what is expected of him as the team converts from the 3-4 defense to the Tampa Cover 2. There are coaches and analysts that know more about the Tampa 2 defense than I’ll ever know, who believe that Lee is a great fit for the scheme, and could be an even bigger playmaker under Monte Kiffin than he was under Rob Ryan.
It should be worth noting that when the Cowboys were running the 3-4 defense it didn’t take long for Lee to make his presence felt. In 2011, his first year as a starter, Lee led the way for Ryan’s defense amassing over 100 tackles. In 2012, Lee was well on his way to leading the team in tackles before a freakish toe injury landed him on season-ending IR causing him to miss 10 games.
As the Cowboys head into training camp, it’s worth observing that Lee has missed a lot of time due to injury and also that he is in the final year of his rookie contract. This puts the Cowboys in a weird situation because there’s no denying that when Lee is healthy, he is easily their best defender, but given that he hasn’t made it through a full season, it may not be worth the investment.
The Cowboys could wait and see, but if Lee makes it the whole season, another team will surely throw boatloads of money at him on the free agent market. On the other hand, if the Cowboys pay him and he goes on injured reserve by week 6 again, then they’re stuck with an additional big contract.
I think that the Cowboys will offer Lee a fair deal and go ahead and lock him up long-term. I have a feeling that, like Jason Witten, Lee will take what he deserves and not force the team to break the bank; something other Cowboys’ players should also do.