Left scrambling in the wake of Sean Lee's season-ending toe injury, the Dallas Cowboys have placed their star linebacker on injured reserve and signed free agent Ernie Sims to take his place, according to DallasCowboys.com's Nick Eatman:
The Cowboys have been busy making official moves on Wednesday, placing both Sean Lee and punter Chris Jones on injured reserve, ending the seasons of both players.
The Cowboys have filled their roster spots with a pair of veteran players in safety Charlie Peprah and linebacker Ernie Sims, a former Top 10 draft pick of the Lions back in 2006.
Sims, who spent last season with the Indianapolis Colts, will have massive shoes to fill once he's ingratiated into the lineup.
Through six games, Lee had compiled 58 total tackles, which led all Cowboys tacklers by a large margin. More importantly, Lee's presence in the middle allowed Rob Ryan to throw complex blitz schemes at the opposition without fear of leaving massive holes in the running game.
It goes without saying that losing the former Penn State star will be a crushing blow for the Dallas defense.
Nonetheless, Sims has shown himself to be a capable NFL linebacker in the past. The 27-year-old is a former first-round pick and went over the 100-tackle mark with the Detroit Lions in each of his first three seasons in the NFL.
However, injuries and ineffective play derailed a once-promising career and left Sims without a team this season.
Considering the huge hole that Lee's absence creates in the middle for Dallas, it's likely that Sims will get an opportunity for redemption once he learns the system.
If he performs up to task, it's possible that the Cowboys' fourth-ranked defense won't take a steep nosedive.
Either way, this is an unfortunate ending to 2012 for Lee, who was seemingly on the verge of a Pro Bowl season, and leaves a 3-3 Dallas team in an untenable situation going forward.