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Cowboys Acquire McClain; Put Lee On Injured Reserve

Posted Jul 1, 2014

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys will be taking another high-profile linebacker to camp in place of the injured Sean Lee.

Dallas got the rights from Baltimore for Rolando McClain on Tuesday, while placing Lee on injured reserve.

The terms of the deal for McClain essentially turn a low-risk deal into a no-risk deal for the Cowboys. If McClain plays 50 percent of the defensive snaps this year, the Cowboys will trade a 2015 sixth-round pick to Baltimore for a 2015 seventh-round pick.

If that doesn't end up happening but McClain is on the 53-man roster for five games or the 46-man roster for three games, Dallas will swap 2016 seventh-round selections with Baltimore if the Cowboys have a better pick. If McClain fails to make the team, the Cowboys lose nothing. 

McClain was the eighth overall pick by the Raiders out of Alabama in 2010, but off-field issues, suspensions and multiple arrests led to his release. 

He made 85 tackles with .5 sacks and an interception in 2010. He followed that up with 99 tackles and five sacks in 2011 and 62 tackles with one sack in 11 games in 2012.

McClain then signed with the Ravens in 2013 but retired shortly after. He expressed his desire to return in March 2014 and was reinstated, but he retired once again.

The Cowboys evidently believe he wants to return to football and will come out of retirement in Dallas, and they could use the depth at linebacker. 

Dallas may know of McClain as well as any NFC East team, as it was McClain’s hit in the preseason in 2012 that left Jason Witten with a lacerated spleen.  The linebacker hasn’t played in the NFL since that 2012 season.

Lee wasn’t expected to play this season after tearing his ACL during the offseason, and the competition at middle linebacker is still ongoing entering training camp.
 
Justin Durant was the leading candidate to take the middle linebacker spot after taking most of the middle linebacker reps at the end of minicamp. DeVonte Holloman and Anthony Hitchens are also candidates for that position.

 
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