Sean Lee agrees to restructured deal with Cowboys

The gang is getting back together in Big D.

Veteran linebacker Sean Lee is returning to the Dallas Cowboys for the 2019 season after agreeing to terms on a restructured deal, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday, per a source.

Lee will earn $3.5 million in 2019, but has the opportunity to earn his way back through incentives to the $7 million in base salary originally owed to him, Rapoport added.

The veteran linebacker, who has struggled with myriad injuries over his nine-year career, is turning 33 in July and coming off a 2018 season in which he played just seven games and lost his starting role to rookie Leighton Vander Esch.

Despite that, Lee said repeatedly this offseason that he wanted to play another year. Now, he will, but with a 50-percent haircut.

What Lee's on-field role with the Cowboys will be next year is unclear. He's clearly no longer a starting-caliber linebacker. But Dallas could have saved an extra $3.5 million by cutting Lee and didn't. This is likely due to the same reason the Cowboys brought back the retired Jason Witten on a one-year contract worth up to $5 million. The Dallas front office values loyalty and "their guys" more than others, for better or worse.

After winning the NFC East last year, the Cowboys appear to see a short-term window to capture their sixth Super Bowl title and want certain veteran leaders to be along for and contribute to the ride, regardless of their remaining abilities or value. Meanwhile, unresolved contract impasses loom with Dallas' top young talents (DeMarcus Lawrence, Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott).

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