Cowboys LB Sean Lee Wants to Sign with Bitter NFC East Rival: Report

Sean Lee

Getty Sean Lee

Jason Witten isn’t the only current Cowboy who might be a future Giant.

According to beat reporter Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media, who surveyed a source close to the situation, Dallas free-agent linebacker Sean Lee “would welcome the opportunity” to sign with Big Blue, where he’d reunite with former Cowboys head coach-turned-Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

“Who wouldn’t want to play at least one season in New York?” Lombardo’s source said.

Lee, who turns 34 in July, has decided to continue playing rather than retire, his agent announced earlier this month, claiming the veteran ‘backer is “very excited” to suit up for … someone.

An unrestricted free agent, Lee is fresh off a surprisingly productive campaign in which he appeared in all 16 games for the first time as a pro, finishing with 86 total tackles (second-most on the team), four pass deflections, one interception, and a sack.

Lee had a signature outing in Week 12, starting in place of Leighton Vander Esch, whose season was cut short by a neck injury. The former All-Pro selection collected a team-high 12 tackles, including nine solo stops, as Dallas trounced the Giants, 37-18.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after the season finale he was “very impressed” by Lee’s 2019 performance, “and I want all of him I can get.”

The expectation, per the Dallas Morning News, is that Lee returns to the Cowboys, the only team he’s known since entering the league as a 2010 second-round pick. He won’t break the bank and nor have many suitors blowing up his phone.

“Lee’s still a special player and special person,” an NFL scout told Lombardo.

But he’s a lesser priority with quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and cornerback Byron Jones — unrestricted free agents — all angling for megadeals. The team also must choose to retain various starters such as safety Jeff Heath, defensive end Robert Quinn, and defensive tackle Maliek Collins, among two-dozen others with expired contracts.

The Cowboys have five linebackers veering toward the open market: Lee (UFA), Joe Thomas (UFA), Malcolm Smith (UFA), Justin March-Lillard (UFA), and Ray-Ray Armstrong (UFA).

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Jerry Jones Pushing to Bring Back ‘Real Deal’ Quinn

It was reported last month that mercurial Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones would be “aggressive” in attempting to re-sign Quinn, who purportedly shares a mutual desire to return.

On Thursday, holding court from his private bus at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Jones confirmed his intent to retain the “real deal” pass-rusher.

“One of the top people — people, players and people — that I’ve ever been associated with,” he said of Quinn, via the Dallas Morning News. “He’s the real deal. … He really helped us last year. So I’m hopeful that we can do something to keep him.”

Quinn was a revelation in his first season with the Cowboys, arriving via an offseason trade with the Miami Dolphins. Despite serving a two-game suspension to kick off the 2019 campaign, he delivered a team-high 11.5 sacks, second-most of his nine-year career, dwarfing the production of $105 million defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (five sacks).

If Jones wants Quinn, he’ll have to dust off his pocketbook. The 29-year-old could net more than $11 million annually in free agency, according to projections.

Spotrac.com estimates a three-year for Quinn, $35.54 million deal, making him the 17th-highest-paid DE in the NFL. And Bleacher Report predicts the Las Vegas Raiders ponying up for his services.

The Cowboys will take $73.983 million of salary-cap space into the league’s signing period, fifth-most among all teams.


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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL