FRISCO, Texas — Linebacker Sean Lee is returning to the Dallas Cowboys for an 11th season, agreeing to a one-year contract Tuesday.
“I’m excited to be back with such an incredible organization,” Lee told ESPN.com. “There’s no better place to be to try and win a championship than Dallas.”
The deal is for $4.5 million with $2 million fully guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
With Leighton Vander Esch coming back from neck surgery and Jaylon Smith not playing as well as he did in 2018, Lee gives the Cowboys options at linebacker. His return also stems some of the tide from the losses of starters Byron Jones (Miami), Robert Quinn (Chicago), Jeff Heath (Las Vegas) and Maliek Collins (Las Vegas) in free agency.
After contemplating retirement following the 2017 and ’18 seasons, Lee played every regular-season game for the Cowboys last season for the first time in his career. The two-time Pro Bowl selection started 13 games and was credited by the coaches with 109 tackles, a sack and an interception.
His playing time increased dramatically down the stretch after Vander Esch went down with what became a season-ending neck injury.
Lee, who turns 34 in July, said he believed he could still be a valuable contributor, even if he was not an every-down player. He ended up playing in 59.1% of the snaps last year, which earned him an extra $1 million.
He fell to the Cowboys in the second round of the 2010 draft because of a partially torn ACL in his left knee. Despite the risk, the Cowboys took him anyway and the knee did not give way until 2014. Since then, Lee has battled through multiple injuries — including those to his hamstring, wrist, toe and neck.
Lee has recorded at least 100 tackles in seven of his nine seasons. He had a career-low 37 in 2018 when he was limited to seven games because of recurring hamstring issues. He also has recorded 14 interceptions in his career with two returned for touchdowns.