Cowboys sifting through options to replace Sean Lee


Today, the reality will begin setting in for the Cowboys, with the official word coming down on the torn left ACL suffered by middle linebacker Sean Lee yesterday.

As they did so many times last year, they’re going to have to rebuild their defense by either pushing young players who might not be ready or signing veteran stopgaps.

According to Calvin Watkins of, the top in-house candidates to replace Lee are fourth-rounder Anthony Hitchens, or second-year linebacker DeVonte Holloman.

“I think all positions have their challenges, no question about that,” coach Jason Garrett said. “There’s a mental and intellectual challenge that comes with certain positions.
“Quarterback would be one of them. Center would be one of them. Mike linebacker would be one of them. But we feel good about the linebacker options that we have. We drafted Hitchens for a reason and we feel like he’s a good football player and has some position flex. We’ll see how he responds to the opportunity he gets.”

If they wanted more experience, they could drag back Ernie Sims, who played 12 games for them last year.

Another intriguing option might be former Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who was cast aside as an odd and too-expensive fit in their conversion to a 3-4. He might not have the wheels he used to have, but he’s a more-than-serviceable player, and could step in quickly.

But the Cowboys will realize how hard it will be to fill that hole today, when they step back onto the field.

24 responses to “Cowboys sifting through options to replace Sean Lee

  1. I don’t get what’s so hard about replacing a guy who has legit missed 16 of his last 32 games. Listen I know how good he is when he plays but WHEN is the key word. I would rather a solid starter play 16 games than have a great player play 8 games I mean heck he is on tap to now miss 32 games in three years. Anyway it’s better to have a guy ready and prepared to play week one than have them step in week 5-8

  2. I’m hoping Holloman can get the reps and proves to be what he looked like in his snaps at the end of the season. Ex-safety turned linebacker with a nose for the ball.

  3. I wouldn’t rule out the rookie they drafted Will Smith. He played weakside LB primarily in college but looks capable of playing the middle.

    Good quickness, gets to the ball, and made a lot of tackles at Texas Tech.

  4. Look at the bright side of the situation. By the end of the year we’ll be 6-10, Jason Garrett will be fired, and we’ll have a Top 5 draft pick.

    After all you’ve got to break a few eggs to make a great omelette, right?

  5. It’s an oft-ignored factor in the Cowboys streak of 8-8 seasons, but they appear to be about as injury-plagued a team as there’s been in the NFL in the last few seasons.

    You’d figure that they were due a bit more luck in that respect, but this is probably as big a blow as you could give them.

  6. at this point there is no good alternative left in the free agent pool. only retreads and question marks. that makes this season tough for the boys.

    but worse still, they are on the hook for nearly 10M dead money on next yrs cap if he is unable to recover from this latest injury. that old wildcatter jerry jettisoned ware and hatcher and doubled down on romo and lee last year. the fat contract he gave romo meant he had to pass on johnny football and the draft fell so he didn’t get the pass rusher at 16 he was in need of.

    so now he has lost the only real good player on the defense, didn’t get the shiny new quarterback or the impact rusher, and really, really has to hope that romo’s back holds out longer than aikman’s. please, jerry, keep looking for that glory hole

  7. I totally see a veteran coming in. Vilma is probably on their radar. He can be had for not a lot and will be around for a year or two tops until the younger LBs can get up to speed.

    Sucks about Lee. He just can’t seem to stay healthy.

  8. After sitting for a season to rest up his old wounds and to let the ego know once and for all he isn’t going to make that much anymore, Brian Urlacher is standing by.

  9. As much as it sucks to lose Lee it’s better it happened now instead of during training camp or week 3 of the season. Given his history we all knew it would happen at some point this season. At least now they can use what’s left of the offseason to bring his replacement up to speed.

    I know, I’m grasping for silver linings.

  10. I love Vilma and greatly appreciate all he has done in NOLA. I want him to retire a Saint but I totally understand the desire to play.

  11. “Riiing Riiing, Un Brady James? This is Jerry. Put away the golf clubs and cancel the fishing trips. We gonna need you to mentor some youngsters for us and provide some depth”.

  12. Going to the old folks home to get a middle linebackers isn’t the answer. Sean is the heart and soul of the defense….Dallas is screwed

  13. I bet none of you can name me one good player on the cowboys defensive roster by name just one LOL!!!! haa haa haaa haaa!!!! ROFL!!! Boy this season will be ugly. Get ready for the bag heads in dallas!!! haa haa haaa haaa!! This team is the most overrated under performing hyped up and downright ugly management in pro football as of today!! As a matter of fact for the last 20 no winning season years LOL!!

  14. people and their dumb comments he missed half the yr and when he played the defense still sucked and we managed to beat 8 teams….Wait for it…….Thanks to ROMO #9

  15. They hurt Lee on purpose…it was a order. They pay Lee a reduced rate for being injured and then cut him next year. Go Eagles! !!!!!

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