Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Sean Lee has shown flashes of greatness since being drafted by Jerry Jones and Co. in 2010. On Wednesday, Dallas ensured that Lee will start getting compensated like one of the best linebackers in the NFL.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 7:56 p.m. ET
The Star Telegram's Carlos Mendez reports the latest on Lee:
Sean Lee wanted to be “a Cowboy for life,” said his agent, Mike McCartney.
“Sean was adamant,” McCartney said Wednesday after working out a six-year contract extension for Lee with the Cowboys.
“It was important to him. He wants to focus on football,” McCartney said. “He is obsessed with being a great player more than any player I have worked with. He truly is thrilled about getting the contract done. He doesn’t have to worry about anything but being a great Dallas Cowboy. He is special.”
---End of update---
According to ESPN's Adam Caplan, Lee and the Cowboys have agreed to terms on a six-year contract extension:
Cowboys ILB Sean Lee agreed to a six-year extension, according to his agent, MikeMcCartney7.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) August 21, 2013
As noted by ESPN's Todd Archer, the deal is worth $42 million in base money, has a chance to reach $51 million with incentives, and will run through the 2019 season.
Lee was originally scheduled to make $630,000 this season in what would have been the final year of his rookie contract. He will now make more than 10 times that figure in signing bonus money ($10 million) alone.
ESPN's Tim MacMahon was one of many reporters who spread the word last week that the Cowboys were working on a new deal for the former Penn State star:
Jerry says Sean Lee is "at the top of the list" of priorities regarding a possible contract extension before the season.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 16, 2013
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora and NFL.com's Albert Breer posted divulged some of the numbers associated with the new deal:
Sean Lee's new extension averages $7M/year with that chance to make $8.5M average based on escalators— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 21, 2013
Sean Lee's deal is worth $42M over 6 years in new money, so $42.63M over 7 years. Playtime escalators can take it to $51M in new $ over 6.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 21, 2013
Lee has recorded 125 solo tackles to go along with seven interceptions and 12 pass breakups in 35 career games (21 starts). He also returned an interception for a touchdown as a rookie and has forced two fumbles in three seasons.
Bursting on the scene for the 'Boys as a full-time starter in 2011, the 6'2", 234-pound 'backer was given the keys to Dallas' defense last year and had 57 tackles in his first six games.
Unfortunately, a toe injury sustained against the Carolina Panthers ended Lee's 2012 season prematurely in late October.
Fully healthy heading into his fourth NFL season, Lee will now have the responsibility of helping Dallas transition to the 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Grantland's Bill Barnwell and ESPN Radio personality Ian Fitzsimmons were among those who implored Dallas fans to avoid jumping for joy just yet:
Really like Sean Lee, but the Cowboys have never met a Cowboy they didn't want to give a massive contract extension to.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) August 21, 2013
Congrats to Sean Lee but he did tell us on @FitzandDurrett that he should be labeled "injury prone" until he proves he can play 16 games.— Ian Fitzsimmons (@Ianfitzespn) August 21, 2013
Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, though, likely sides with those who applaud Dallas' efforts in locking up a potential franchise player. Butkus told ESPN's Calvin Watkins that he has been watching Lee with a close eye, and his evaluation is quite the recommendation.
What grade would you give the extension?
"(He's) an old-school guy," Butkus told Watkins. "He's for real."
Lee, 27, was the 55th overall selection in the 2010 NFL draft.
Although Sean Lee suddenly finds himself one of the highest-paid players in Dallas, he certainly has the talent to make good on the leap of faith made by Jones and the franchise.