Linebacker Sean Lee locks in with Cowboys on 6-year, $42 million extension

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Sean Lee is only in his third season with the Cowboys, but he has plans to retire with the team that drafted him.

The contract extension he agreed to Wednesday goes a long way to getting that accomplished.

Lee agreed to a six-year extension with a $10 million signing bonus and $16.15 million guaranteed, according to a source. The contract runs through 2019 and could be worth as much as $51 million.

The base value of the deal is $42 million, with base salaries of $630,000 in 2013, $5.5 million in ’14, $2.5 million in ’15, $3 million in ’16 and $7 million each year from 2017-19.

He could earn an extra $1.5 million that is guaranteed in ’15 if he plays 80 percent of the time the next two years.

Lee had one year remaining on his rookie deal and had been scheduled to make $575,000 in base salary.

The sides began talking the second day of practice in training camp, with both wanting to make a deal happen before the season opener.

“Sean was adamant: He wanted to be a Cowboy for life,” said Mike McCartney, Lee’s agent. “It was important to him. He wants to focus on football. He is obsessed with being a great player more than any player I have worked with. … He is special.”

Lee, 27, was a second-round draft choice in 2010. He has 253 tackles, seven interceptions and two forced fumbles in his three seasons.

Lee has become a team leader and is expected to excel in the Tampa 2 scheme of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

But Lee has yet to play 16 games in a season. He missed 10 games last year with an injury to his right big toe, was out one game in 2011 with a partially dislocated wrist that required a protective cast for much of the season, and in 2010, he missed two games with a hamstring strain.

Wilcox returns

Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox returned to practice Wednesday after being away from the team 10 days because of the death of his mother, and coach Jason Garrett said he will continue to get support from the team.

“He had a very difficult time with his mom,” Garrett said. “We wanted to make sure he had plenty of time to take care of that the right way. … It’s difficult for anybody. He is a young man trying to make his way in this league, so we want to support him in any way we can.”

Wilcox left training camp on Aug. 10, not having told any players or coaches that his mother had been ill for years with lupus. His father had called him the previous day to tell him she was being hospitalized. His mother, 49, died later that week.

“I don’t want remorse,” he said. “It’s part of life, and we have ups and downs, and that was part of my downs. But I know my ups will probably overdo my downs now, so I’m looking for the good now.”

Wilcox said he intentionally did not tell anyone because he didn’t want it to influence the coaches’ evaluation of his play.

“I tried not let that hinder me from my performance and let my teammates down, so I deal with that off the field,” he said.

Ware optimistic

Defensive end DeMarcus Ware is optimistic that Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer can contribute when they come back because the 4-3 defense is pretty straightforward.

“The scheme is very simple, but the effort is what it’s all predicated on — and making plays on athleticism, making it simple so guys can attack and be aggressive,” Ware said.

Ratliff has not practiced since training camp started. Spencer had knee surgery four weeks ago.

“When Jay and Spencer come back, it’s not about them not knowing the scheme and how they’re going to attack us, because when people attack the 4-3, it’s very simple,” Ware said. “It’s more about ‘Are they going to be in shape?’ or making sure they’re in shape and making sure their bodies are right to withstand a whole game.”

Scandrick sits

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick did not practice because of a groin strain, coach Jason Garrett said.

Scandrick said he was fine and doing what the trainers told him. He said the team does not want to take chances with groin or abdominal strains and have them turn into hernias.

It is the first practice Scandrick has missed this season.

Staff reporters Carlos Mendez and Clarence E. Hill Jr. contributed to this report

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

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