Sean Lee is a joy to watch.
He's all over the field whenever he plays, and he might be the only player in NFL history to pick the ball off with a club for a hand.
Seriously, his hand was wrapped in tape because of a wrist injury a few weeks before, and he still picked off Eli Manning.
But that amazing feat also contains the problem - injuries. Lee has missed 13 games so far, with ten of those coming last year after winding up on IR.
That doesn't include the numerous other weeks he's played hurt, including the aforementioned wrist injury (which placed Lee on the injury report the entire second half of the season).
That's not the history you want to see from a guy with a $10 million signing bonus and a likely top 10 salary at his position four of the six years added to his contract.
The good news is that yes, Lee is willing to play hurt, and the escalators in his contract are based on playing time. He is also only guaraunteed his 2014 salary right now, so Jerry Jones hasn't completely hamstrung his cap with an extension like he did with Jay Ratliff, Doug Free, and Orlando Scandrick.
The bad news is that this pushes the Cowboys even farther over the 2014 cap. This year's salary cap is $123 million, and it's expected to stay at least close to that level over the next few years. With Lee's extension, the Cowboys currently have almost $150 million in cap hits next year.
Even if the Cowboys roll over some cap space from this year (as they can under the new CBA), massive cuts are coming. Having Sean Lee is great, but at the cost of other players?
Then again, the players that would save money for the Cowboys are players like Jay Ratliff ($1.3 million in savings, more if a June 1 cut), Doug Free ($3.5 million), Nate Livings ($1.35 million), and Mackenzie Bernadeau ($900,000). These are all players that might very well have been cut anyway, and that some fans and analysts wanted to see cut this year.
It really all boils down to that one factor: can Sean Lee stay healthy?
I believe that he can, and Jerry does too. That's why Lee got this deal, and if he plays the way we all know he can, it'll be worth every penny.