Sean Lee is a very good player. But he is now on a terrible contract. Usually when sports writers argue that a player is on a bad contract it is because they are not playing well. They say he is not worth that kind of money. Here, that is not the issue. Instead, the issue is that six years is too long of a contract for a linebacker in the NFL. Players there often get beat up, especially hard hitters like Lee. Lee could have a marvelous career and end up playing well into his 30’s like Brian Urlacher or Ray Lewis, but chances are he will not. It is easy to forget as fans; very few players actually hold up for that long.
There are reasons to believe this contract is the right move. Many have argued that Lee is the key for the Dallas Cowboys defense (even the best player on the team), and his ability to be constantly hovering around ball carriers is great. Lee also is a very important leader for the Cowboys, calling the plays and making audible at the line. All of these are good points, but they miss the heart of the issue.
Lee is a great player, today. But six years from now Lee will be 33, an age few linebackers make it to. Furthermore, as the league becomes more about passing middle linebackers are simply less key for success. Not only that but this six-year deal comes on the heels of a season-ending ligament tear on his toe. Lee also dislocated his wrist in 2011. He was able to play most of the season, but it may be the case that he is simply injury prone.
Lee will almost surely play well for Cowboys this year, but in three or four years many fans will be asking how Jerry Jones could have given a linebacker a six-year deal.
Jay Cullen is a New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at JayCullen92 or add him to your network on Google.